I want to take a few minutes to help you better understand what you can do to take ownership of your health and empower you to have faith in your own immune system during this time of stress and fear. The real impact of the pandemic on the population, on the healthcare system, and on the financial system, will ultimately be determined not by the number of people who get infected, but by the ratio of the number of people who become infected and recover without the need for hospitalization vs the number of people who become infected and become seriously ill and require hospitalization.
Are You At High Risk for Serious Effects From COVID-19?
The CDC has been adamant from the beginning that those who are at most risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are those who are either immunocompromised from pre-existing illness or who have reduced immune function due to old age. Though it is true that many elderly do indeed have reduced immune function, there are also many elderly who have adequate immune function.
A recent report concluded the fatality rate from COVID-19 is about 13% for those over 80yrs of age, about 6% for those between 60 and 80yrs of age, and about 0.66% overall. Clearly age itself cannot be the determining factor of immune function or immune defense status with regard to protection from serious illness and/or death from COVID-19.
Can You Improve Your Immune Function?
The question being begged is, are there any evidence-based or evidence-informed ways to improve baseline health and/or immune system function status?
The answer is, YES!
Does this mean there are evidence-based interventions to decrease the severity of illness or death from the novel Coronavirus? NO!
There just has not been enough time to conduct any clinical studies so, at this point in time, there are no evidence-based interventions specifically relating to COVID-19. However, we do know how the immune system responds to viruses, we do know that the human immune system is, when not in a compromised state, capable of resolving infection from COVID-19 without serious complications.
The data is clear, the VAST majority of humans who get infected with COVID-19 recover without serious complications. So, the most important questions are:
- What factors cause immunocompromised?
- What factors are required to improve current immune function and/or to express optimal immune function?
Risk Factors for Serious COVID-19 Infections
- The CDC is very clear that underlying health conditions such as chronic lung diseases like COPD or asthma, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease all cause immune system compromise.
- Further, many prescription medications such as corticosteroids, cancer treatment medications, and many others can cause immune system compromise.
- People who smoke or consume too much alcohol or other drugs are also often immunocompromised.
- We also know that air pollution is a major risk factor for respiratory infection and death; 7 million people die each year from air pollution worldwide.
- Emotional stress, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle can also cause immunocompromised.
Ways to Improve Immune Function
We know that immune status can be positively influenced by lifestyle choice. The literature is clear that the following are all requirements for healthy immune function, and all have been shown to improve immune function status:
- Proper sleep
- Healthy emotional states (and lowered emotional stress)
- Proper nutrition
- Sufficient exercise
There simply is no scientific or logical reason not to make efforts to improve baseline health and immune function and to conclude that doing so would be beneficial for those exposed to COVID-19; immune status is undeniably a major factor in determining how seriously ill any individual becomes when exposed to COVID-19.
The next question being begged is, what can individuals do to reduce immunocompromise and/or to improve immune function?
Well, as we are in an acute crisis it would not be a logical strategy to focus on reducing underlying conditions, prescription medication use, or air pollution. What is a logical strategy is to immediately implement emotional fitness and wellbeing strategies, healthy sleep strategies, physical fitness strategies, and healthy nutrition strategies.
Everyone should be incorporating the following:
- Daily positive emotion or stress reduction activities
- Some physical activity, even if just going for a walk
- Healthier eating strategies such as drinking more water, eating more raw fruits and vegetables, and eating less unhealthy foods.
- Making sure they are getting a sufficient intake of essential nutrients. There is much research that clearly shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D are all required for proper immune function.
- Regular chiropractic adjustments. Studies show that even a single chiropractic adjustment can boost the immune system by 200% or more and that regular corrective adjustments raise immune function by as much as 48% over the long term.
These facts and many more further prove the importance of chiropractic care as part of a healthy lifestyle focused on prevention!
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