We are exposed to a lot of viruses we don’t catch. Ever wondered why? Our immunity helps to prevent that. What can we do to boost our immunity? Rest, proper diet and exercise. There are a lot of supplements out there that claim to boost your immunity, but no proof that they work. While Linus Pauling touted vitamin C and lived to a ripe old age, there no evidence that vitamin C supplements will reduce the risk or duration of colds. Studies done on medical students show that they are more susceptible to cold viruses around exam time. Stress can reduce our immunity and increase our risk of catching colds. Exercise can certainly help to reduce stress. I just returned from the gym. Patients have asked me if it is safe to go to the gym. I just worked out with my trainer at a small gym. Omar and Andy at New Heights Fitness are clean freaks. I use hand sanitizers before and after training and shower when I get home. This helps to kill both viruses and bacteria like staph that may live on those surfaces. I doubt that I would feel comfortable working out at a big chain gym where there are large numbers of people working out day and night. Remember, it’s a great time of the year to exercise outdoors. A walk in the neighborhood is a great way of getting exercise and relieving stress. I am fond of saying, “I don’t have any drug as good as exercise”.
What about exercising when you are sick? The rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are from the neck up, aerobic activity like walking or running is OK to continue. If your symptoms are in your chest, give your lungs a break. You can focus on doing some light weights and stretching until your cough is better. A young woman called me today and told me that her chest cold was getting worse. She then mentioned that she was still running 3-4 miles a day. When you have a deep cough, let your lungs heal. There is no risk of getting a corona virus is a pool.
One other comment on Covid -19. I don’t know if it’s circulating in the community. Hopefully, increased testing in the near future will let us know. I know, however, that influenza is rampant. If you have headache, a fever and a cough, you will likely be treated for the flu with Tamiflu or Xofluza. If you have Covid instead, taking Tamiflu wouldn’t help (that we know of), but it wouldn’t hurt either. Isolating yourself will help the risk of spreading either. Knowing that you have Covid -19 would require isolating for a longer period of time.