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Staying Healthy During COVID 19

By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - May 12, 2020

If you would have asked me 3 months ago what life would be like in April/May of 2020, I would never have imagined a national lockdown and a worldwide pandemic. Most people have never seen anything like this in their lifetime. The news calls this an "unprecedented time" and I would agree, it certainly is.

The reaction to the virus by our governments and politicians has been hyper focused on prevention of spread of the COVID 19 virus. This is certainly important, but shouldn't be the only focus. Yes, wash your hands, keep your distance from others, wear masks when appropriate. As businesses, the country, and travel start to re-open, how do you keep yourself and your immune system healthy?

I thought it would be a great idea to give you all a list of things you can do to keep yourself as healthy as possible while our normal daily routines are on hold.
  1. Connect. Do your best to stay connected to others. Isolation was not meant for humans. We are social creatures that require a community, support, hugs, and love to feel emotionally healthy. If you live alone, you can call friends and family on Zoom, Facetime, or Skype. You can have weekly "virtual dinners" or even play games over the computer. You can do crafts together or even watch movies and discuss over the platform. These are just some ideas. Also, I have noticed that patients who were in psychotherapy prior to COVID 19 have abruptly stopped going. This has been harmful to their mental health and is certainly taking a toll. I've advised patients to reach out to their therapist to see if their therapists will do virtual appointments. If they say no, there are therapists available through Doctor on Demand, an online telemedicine service. There are other telemedicine companies out there as well that you can use. Doctor on Demand takes insurance too. So, if psychotherapy was something that was helping you before COVID 19, I'd recommend finding a way to keep it going.
  2. Exercise. Cities have closed gyms, pools, even beaches and parks in some places. We all know that exercise helps keep you healthy in more than one way. Your body is a machine that needs to be used. Continue to try to exercise during this time. You can do home exercises/stretches, go on hikes or bike rides, play a sport with your family at the park. Side note: Having a foam roller at home during COVID 19 has proved to be quite useful.
  3. Nutrition. With daily life disrupted, people may not be eating as healthy as they normally would. Maybe you've been stocking up on frozen foods so you don't have to make those frequent trips to the grocery store. With restaurants closed and more time to cook at home, you can start making healthy meals at home. Foods that will improve health: more natural foods, fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, legumes, lean meats, unprocessed foods. Foods that you would want to avoid or minimize: sugary foods, starchy foods - excessive potatoes for example, processed grains, and fried foods.
  4. Stay on top of your health. While the main focus of the COVID 19 virus has been the prevention of spreading the virus, I see so many other issues that are becoming a large health threat to us while the isolation and lock down has been going on. Many preventative health treatments, medications, follow ups and maintenance have been halted. This has other health repercussions that for some can be catastrophic. If you need to have a check up with your doctor or a visit with your dentist, there are ways to do this during COVID 19. Many health practitioners are offering telemedicine appointments (as mentioned above). This may be ideal for patients that are at particular risk for COVID 19 complications. Doctor's offices and dental offices are open (at least in Colorado). If you require an in person visit, you can choose to do that also. If you have questions about the particular offices COVID 19 safety protocols, you can always ask for the details before going into the office in person. Telemedicine is appropriate for visits such as medication refills, colds/coughs, urinary issues, rashes, COVID 19 evaluations, and many other conditions. If you have a condition which you normally would have gone to an Urgent Care or ER for, please do not hesitate to go get the care that you need.
  5. Vitamins/Supplements. There are a few vitamins that can help boost your immune system. (These are only a few - there are many others that are not listed)
    1. *Vitamin D3 - Recent studies have linked low Vitamin D levels to increased COVID 19 infection and COVID 19 mortality.
    2. Vitamin C
    3. Zinc
    4. B-Complex
    5. Echinacea

*Illie, P, Stefanescu, S, Smith, L The role of Vitamin D in the Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection and Mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 May 6 : 1–4.

If you have questions about your health, feel free to reach out to us at FORM Medical 720-370-9559.