No matter what virus, bacteria, or other infectious agents you’re trying to avoid, prevention is the first line of defence, and keeping your immune system on “alert”.
One of the biggest ways to avoid illness is prevention. Avoid touching your face (especially eyes, nose, and mouth).
We touch our face on average 16 to 25 times an hour! Some up to 50 times an hour! We brush the hair from our eyes, scratch our noses, rest our chins in our hands, and put on and take off our face masks.
6 Tips to Stop Touching Your Face:
- Choose an essential oil you like the least / find very strong and add it to your hand sanitizer / place a few drops on your fingers. This will serve to quickly alert you to stop touching your face/mask
- Carry Kleenex and become habitual at using that vs your hands to wipe your eyes / pick your nose
- Wear gloves
- Occupy your hands with something to fidget with such as a pen or a marble
- Set occasional random reminders on your smartphone: “don’t touch your face” and ask others around you to interrupt if they see you about to touch your face
- If it’s really bad, sit on your hands to help retrain / re-pattern this habit
Even if you are excellent at not touching your face, you still need to wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently, especially if you go out in public. Since touching your face is a habit, there will still be times you fall back into old ways. Do your best but keep washing those hands!
For immunity, you don’t want to supercharge or boost your immune system all the time. Your immune system loves it “just right” like the Goldilocks principle. Scientists call this balance “immunomodulation”. A suppressed immunity puts the body at risk of infection. An overactive or overly “boosted” immune system puts the body at risk of heightened inflammation and tissue destruction and can even lead to autoimmunity (the body attacking its own tissues and organs).
Here are some examples of where and how this plays out:
- Too cold: viruses replicate quickly especially in the nose. This is because it protrudes away from the head and can remain a few degrees cooler than the body – a perfect temperature for viruses to replicate. Then… sniff!… and down into the lungs goes a snoogie loaded with viruses
- Too hot: skin and mucous membranes can dry out and without proper hydration, an infection can more easily set in (when really hot such as a fever, your fighting something)
- Just right: 97-99F or 36-37C (due to emerging research on average temperatures going down due to lower metabolisms and better thermometers). So doctors don’t consider you to have a fever until your temperature is at or above 100.4F. But you can be sick if it’s lower than that.
Solution: grandma was right, cover your face on cold days. Also, recent studies show that because the viral load plays a role when you’re out in the cold, you can use natural oral echinacea spray to lessen the viral load in the oral cavity and keep your immune system on alert
- Too little: poor circulation, low energy, immune suppression
- Too much: tissue injury, inflammation, immune depression
- Just right: excellent energy, boosted metabolism, better mood, improved sleep, all of which enhances immunity, circulation, detox, and lymphatic flow
Solution: your body is meant to push, pull, jump, squat, lift, and walk. Find 30 mins for weight-bearing exercise 5x/week and 25 mins for a walk every single day.
- Too little: boredom, sluggish, lack of alertness
- Too much: fatigued, run-down, “tired but wired” sleepless, immune depressed and sick
- Just right: balanced life, the immune system remains on alert
Solution: get optimal sleep, practice mindfulness, practice deep breathing
- Too little: this is a thing! Your immune system is like a muscle: underused, it gets weak and deflated
- Too much: chronic infection causes chronic inflammation and disease and untimely death
- Just right: ya!… nothing at all wrong with a few uncomplicated colds or the occasional flu if you’re otherwise healthy. COVID is an exception as it seems to come with an elevated risk of complication. But when you have no/very few infections annually, your immune system gets lazy.
Solution: purposefully getting infected a-la chickenpox party isn’t advisable. However, one of the ways PRObiotics seem to work is to keep the immune system in our gut on alert. Besides conferring many health benefits and keeping the bad bacteria at bay, they also engage parts of our immune system in the gut at just the right level so as to lower toxic levels of inflammation and keep the rest of the immune system on alert against viruses!
- Too little: whether it’s calories or nutrients, the body can’t function and the immune system doesn’t work
- Too much: whether it’s calories or nutrients, the body becomes obese and there can be side effects from over-consuming certain nutrients
- Just right: a healthy, energetic, and highly functioning immunity
Solution: ditch the sugar and refined carbs and any other high-calorie, nutrient-deficient food. Consider intermittent fasting (16 hrs fast and 8 hr feeding window). Supplement your diet with extra vitamin D, C, Zinc, Quercetin, and NAC – ingredients you need to keep a robust yet balanced immunity, yet you can’t get them from a healthy diet.
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