Stuck at home most of the time, and with a world full of danger outside, we have to work to stay healthy.  (Jasmine Graf)

Isolated … but alive 

Vitamin C, leafy greens, water and exercise can all play
a useful role during two weeks of isolation
By Cecilia Lietz

WITH THE COVID-19 emergency, people have been ordered to practise social distancing to slow the virus’s spread and, whether you’re self-isolating or just working from home, this involves spending a lot of time alone.

The experts are saying that what we should do to stay healthy during this isolation is rest, eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamins, minerals and probiotics, drink water, exercise daily, get out for a breath of air once in a while, and wash our hands – a lot.

COVID-19 is similar to influenza in that, according to the Government of Alberta website, both diseases cause respiratory issues and are spread by small droplets from the nose and mouth. COVID-19 symptoms include a dry cough, fever, chest pain and fatigue.

If you have spent time around a person who has COVID-19, you will have to self-isolate for two weeks, and during that time, is highly recommended that you …

 

REST

Making sure that an individual obtains the minimum eight hours of sleep will help strengthen the immune system.

Christine Ruggeri, a writer and nutrition counsellor in Northport, N.Y., explains the immune system’s function: it “works to neutralize and remove pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that enter the body, recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and fight against the body’s own cells that have changes due to an illness.”

 

EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Choose the ones that are high in vitamins, minerals and probiotics, especially vitamins C and D, and zinc. Note that some of the claims made for vitamins are under debate – but, unlike some of the crazy cures being peddled online, they can’t hurt you, and they are definitely good for you.

Vitamin C is said to be an antioxidant which is helpful in the growth and development of tissues within the body. Vitamin C can be consumed through citrus fruits,  like oranges, lemons or grapefruits, and berries, kiwis, tomatoes, broccoli and sprouts.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, regulate the immune and neuromuscular system, and plays a major role when it comes to cycling the human cells. The body absorbs vitamin D through sunlight, mushrooms or oranges.

Zinc helps the body grow, develop immune system function and wounds to heal. Nuts and seeds are a good source of zinc.

Probiotics are good gut bacteria that help the digestive system regulate and balance out the bad gut bacteria formed in the body. Yogurt or probiotic drinks are the best way to increase this bacteria.

 

DRINK WATER

One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a dry cough that can irritate the throat. People become dehydrated because of the fever that can form (another common symptom of COVID-19.) Water is essential to rehydrate the body.

Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks. Instead of hydrating the body, they can cause irritation and aggravate the coughing. Also, avoid excessive use of alcohol; it causes dehydration. If you are really craving soda pop, squeeze some lemon, lime or orange juice into a glass of sparkling water.

 

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced March 17 that gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people, and that includes at places of worship, funerals and weddings.

“The only means we have to prevent this virus from spreading is to limit contact between people,” Hinshaw said in a news conference. “The more we can slow the spread of the virus down, the less likely it is that there will be a surge of cases that overwhelm our health system’s capacity to care for those who need hospitalization or intensive care.”

 

WASH YOUR HANDS

Regina Bailey, author of the article “Why You Should Wash Your Hands (And How to Do It Properly),” writes that hand washing is the most effective method to prevent the spread of germs and diseases.

We use our hands every day and touch a lot of things, such as eyes, nose and mouth.

“There are an estimated 1,500 bacteria per square centimeter of skin on your hand. One of the best ways to prevent bacteria-related illnesses and other infectious disease is to wash your hands with soap and water.”

 

EXERCISE

Regular exercise is something we need for our mental and physical health. You don’t need equipment, or a lot of space, to do squats, pushups, sit-ups, crunches, back curls or jumping jacks. Better still, get out of the house and go for a long walk. Go out early, find some big expanse of green space, breathe deeply and get your legs and arms moving – but make sure to stay well clear of the other stir-crazy Edmontonians trying to get some air, too.

Stay safe out there. Wash your hands for 20 seconds when you get home, and throw your clothes in the laundry.

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