15 Tips for Staying Healthy During COVID
Every day the news is filled with the latest developments on the spread of the coronavirus. It’s important to stay positive and hopeful that the current COVID surge will end soon.
Although this is a challenging time, you shouldn’t let the pandemic affect your normal daily routine. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help keep you safe with these top 15 tips on how to stay healthy during COVID-19.
Medicare Benefits Solutions
Jan 18, 2022
Build Your Immune System
The best way to help your body fight off diseases such as the flu or common cold is to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest and eat a balanced, healthy diet. While there is currently no cure for COVID-19 there are certain steps you can take to help build your immune system and potentially fight off the virus if you do get sick.
Vaccines and immunizations
While getting the vaccine is still a personal choice for many people, for anyone working in the healthcare sector it’s probably mandatory. The shot(s) can help build antibodies that may give protection against potential COVID exposure.
With new variants of COVID being reported, there is debate on should you or shouldn’t you get a booster shot. The CDC recommends that anyone with a compromised immune system should get the booster shot around 5 to 6 months after they received the primary vaccine.
You may not know that it can take from about 2 days to 2 weeks after someone’s been exposed before symptoms will appear. If you think you may have been in contact with someone who has COVID take proactive measures and get tested. Many drugstores and pharmacies have sold out of over-the-counter testing kits so it’s a good idea to call first to save yourself a trip.
You can also call your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment for a COVID test or look for a health center or testing facility near you. Some counties and municipalities with high positivity rates are even setting up drive-through distribution centers at local parks to hand out free testing kits.
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The social impact of the pandemic is affecting all segments of the population including children, healthcare workers, and students. Older adults with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and COPD are also at high risk of developing severe symptoms if they get sick.
The National Center for Health Statistics reported that among deaths in the United States from COVID-19, 69% were attributed to people 65 and older. But there are certain steps you can take to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Avoid crowded events
There is a lot of confusion surrounding leaving your home to attend public events. You’ll have to use your best judgment when deciding to attend birthday parties, holiday festivities and other social gatherings. A general recommendation is to try to avoid overly crowded places or poorly ventilated indoor spaces that don’t circulate fresh air from outside.
Social distancing mandates
Whenever you’re out in public, or people outside of your household come over to visit, you should try to keep up social distancing protocols. Staying at least 6’ feet apart will help you avoid close contact with anyone who is potentially sick.
Wear a mask
While you’ll have to wear a mask when traveling by plane or using other forms of public transport, mandatory mask mandates are determined on a state-by-state basis. And, although you might not have to wear a mask to go grocery shopping, it’s still a good idea to wear a mask when you go out in public. You might be up-to-date on all your shots but there’s no way of knowing if everyone you come in contact with has been vaccinated.
Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
Although COVID has probably changed how you used to do things, you shouldn’t lose focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, eating fresh and unprocessed foods and getting plenty of rest will help keep you fit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To make sure you are moving well and getting enough exercise, you might want to use a fitness tracker to track your daily physical activity. Depending on the model you choose, you can track the number of steps, miles walked, calories burned, and some can even check your heart rate.
Focus on diet and nutrition
Remember to keep focusing on the importance of cooking well and making smart food choices during the pandemic. Try to limit the amount of junk food, cookies, chips, and other highly processed foods you eat. You can even consult with your healthcare provider for advice on creating an optimal nutrition plan that meets your specific dietary needs such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet if you have high blood pressure.
Did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your overall well-being? When your immune system is compromised, such as when you have a cold or the flu, it’s even more important to focus on sticking to a regular bedtime routine.
The National Institutes of Health reported that long-term sleep loss can weaken your body’s defense mechanisms and make you more susceptible to getting sick. To help you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, avoid napping late in the day, try to develop a bedtime routine such as reading a book to help you relax and avoid overly stimulating activities such as watching TV or using your cellphone to catch up with social media.
Keep It Clean
The CDC has recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting your home when someone is sick. A little effort on your part can go a long way to reduce the number of germs on surfaces and help prevent the continued spread of COVID.
A great habit to follow is the cleaning and sanitizing all hard surfaces in your home on a regular basis. This is especially important after someone’s visited your home. Focus on countertops, light switches, doorknobs, faucets, tabletops and other surfaces that get touched often.
Wash your hands
The Red Cross recommends washing your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. And you should always carry a hand sanitizer with you, that has at least 60% alcohol when washing your hands is not an option
Don’t share personal items
Keep your toothbrushes, towels, chapstick and other personal items to yourself. You never know when someone in your home may test positive for the virus or if they’ve potentially been exposed yet are asymptomatic.
Focus on Mental Health and Wellness
According to the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging, 48% of older adults reported experiencing some or a lot of stress about getting COVID-19 from engaging in certain activities. This included stress about leaving their home (27%), stress about having visitors in their home (34%), stress about being in a crowded outdoor environment (41%), and stress about being in a crowded indoor space (58%).
To keep yourself mentally fit and healthy during the pandemic take time out of your day to focus on your own well-being.
Just say no to stress and anxiety. Taking time to relax and engaging in activities that make you happy is an important part of controlling stress and anxiety. Activities that can help spark joy can include things like spending time outdoors, engaging in favorite hobbies, interacting with your pets, volunteering to help others, or even attending online events.
Get some fresh air
Get off the couch, go outside and breathe in some fresh air. Grab a friend, neighbor, or family member and get moving. Even a short walk around the block is better than nothing! Taking a walk lets you get outside for a moment, enjoy nature, catch up with what’s happening in your neighborhood and maintain social distancing recommendations.
If you live in an independent living or assisted living community ask if they offer any classes for residents. Many 55+ retirement and active adult communities host a variety of events in their community center such as movie night, cooking demonstrations, exercise classes, and more.
And finally, if you are feeling sick or have tested positive for the virus, staying connected with friends and family is important for your mental health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family and neighbors if you need assistance – they are probably more than willing to help out any way they can.
Or you can order take-out for the win if you are craving a cup of hot soup from your favorite restaurant or need to place a grocery order. Most delivery services, such as Instacart, Grub Hub and Delivery Dudes offer contactless delivery and will leave items at your door to maintain proper social distancing.
We hope these handy tips will help you take charge of your life and empower yourself with the tools and information needed to help you live your best life!
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