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COVID-19 was the dominant headline of 2020, and it is shaping up to remain the same for the year 2021. With the roll out of vaccines and the possibility of herd immunity, it felt like we were finally able to let our guards down and return to life as normal…well, as normal as it can get amid a global pandemic. However, with the rise in the Delta variant of COVID-19, one that is more contagious and affecting young populations, it appears as though we still need to be on guard to protect ourselves and those we love. Innova Primary Care always puts our patients first. We believe that knowledge is power for those we serve. So, in these trying times, what can you do to stay safe?
We acknowledge that the topic of vaccination is a heated one for many. Not everyone falls on the same side of the issue for a variety of reasons. We are not here to shame anyone. Please understand this. However, for those who are healthy and fit the criteria, we believe that vaccination is crucial to fight COVID-19. As always, we welcome discussion with you. Don’t hesitate to contact our office or send us a message through our portal and let’s talk.
We want you to know that we base our advice on solid scientific facts. Information surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and we are staying on top of the facts as they arise. Unfortunately, misinformation is everywhere in this climate. The best thing you can do is talk to your physician to get the latest, most up-to-date science-backed information. Remember, we have your best interests at heart.
Regarding breakthrough cases post-vaccination, it is important to remember that vaccines are effective. Breakthrough cases are possible because the truth of the matter is that no vaccine is one hundred percent effective in prevention. However, vaccines are your best bet to prevent developing a severe case of COVID-19, and should you contract the virus after your vaccination, your case will most likely be much milder than if you are not vaccinated. Just something to keep in mind.
Apart from vaccinations, let’s talk about everyday things you can do to boost your immunity and protect yourself. We’ve discussed the vaccine, now let’s turn our attention to masks. Yes, wearing a mask is still recommended to protect yourself from infection. This is true for everyone, vaccinated or not. The reason mask recommendations change is because of changes in the virus. When you know more, you make adjustments.
The Delta variant really changed the landscape of COVID due to its high transmission rate. When the CDC changed its mask-wearing guidelines in May, saying that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to mask indoors, the Delta variant accounted for only one percent of COVID cases. This date has changed and with it, mask recommendations.
Let’s talk about your body’s own unique defense mechanism, the immune system. Innate immunity is what you are born with. It is the original line of defense against harmful substances. This highly complex system provides barriers and protection. It includes things like your skin, mucus, and stomach acid, and specific types of blood cells to help fight infection.
Your body’s original defense mechanism is an incredible thing that is fighting for you at all times. However, due to the immune system’s complexity, researchers are still investigating things you can do to give your immunity a boost. Here’s what we know right now:
Lifestyle choices matter when it comes to keeping your immune system healthy. For starters, eat a nutrient-dense diet full of various micronutrients. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is a great way to keep your body properly nourished and ready to fight on your behalf.
Harvard Health notes that there are close to 30 different minerals and vitamins that your body needs but cannot make enough of on its own. These essential micronutrients need to be a part of your diet. The good news is that in this modern era, we have an abundant food supply. However, nutrient deficiencies can still exist due to poor diet. Supplementation may be necessary, but don’t self-diagnose this one. Speak with your healthcare provider and see what your needs are.
Keep an eye on your body mass index as well.
We are always going to preach the power of movement here. Exercise is key to a healthy mind and body. Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improve circulation, build strength and stability, and it just makes you feel good. The great news is you don’t have to spend hours a day working out to reap the benefits. Just get moving. 150 minutes of moderate activity a week is recommended by the American Heart Association.
Don’t forget about strength training twice a week as well. Body weight moves, resistance bands, and weights can all be great tools to help build muscle.
Modern medicine now acknowledges a link between stress and immunity. As a result, there’s an entire field of medicine dedicated to the mind/body connection and immune function, psychoneuroimmunology.
We know that stress affects your health, especially chronic stress – hello, global pandemic – so take steps to manage your stress. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are great ways to relax.
Your health matters to us. We know there is no way to prevent contracting COVID-19 definitively. Still, we know there are things you can do each day to help guard yourself: eat well, exercise, reduce stress, don’t smoke, moderate alcohol use if at all, and maintain a healthy weight.
As we all navigate life with COVID-19, it is essential that you stay on top of your preventative medical appointments as well.
Don’t skip recommended medical appointments such as physicals, pelvic and breast exams, and the like. And if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We want to see you well.