Coronavirus pandemic: 10 ways to defend yourself against COVID-19

Governments and corporates alike are taking appropriate measures to contain and mitigate the outbreak of coronavirus. As individuals, here's what we can do to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Amusing as it may sound, the COVID-19 won’t go away by chanting “Go Corona Go”. As the WHO has announced it is a pandemic and governments are scrambling to keep their citizens safe, there are many things we can do ourselves to practice precaution. So in the absence of other options, is there something that you as a normal human being can do?

Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your immune system be. But Rome did get badly affected by the coronavirus lately. The only thing on our minds is how to keep ourselves safe from the COVID-19 infection. We find that the highest fatality is among:

  • Individuals aged 80 years and above.
  • With compromised immune systems due to illness or from being on immune-suppressants.
  • People with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, as they appear to be more vulnerable to falling severely ill from the coronavirus.

Having said that, there certainly have been deaths in people in their 30s and younger, but the death rates for these younger individuals are considered to be lower.

So how do we enhance our immune systems - the soldiers of our bodies - to wage a successful war against the very real threat of a lethal virus that has threatened humankind with a pandemic, we now know as COVID-19?

What can you do?

Here are some guidelines that you can follow in general:

1. Don’t smoke

Smoking, we know, is injurious to health but more so for COVID-19. The ACE-2 receptors are more expressed in smokers, and these are the same receptors for 2019-nCov, the virus.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity has been linked to several diseases and is a risk factor for many conditions. While one diet doesn’t suit all, we all can try to not overeat and exercise. Understanding your genetic makeup may help guide you as well.

3. Eat a colourful diet

A colourful diet (no not a rainbow cake), but a diet full of vegetables and fruits gives you a lot of natural nutrients that help build your immune system naturally.

4. Sleep is the best medicine

Good sleep or rest is essential for building your immune system. A lot of scientific evidence points to how sleep helps in improving your immune response if you do get infected. Sleep is something that you can do in your home, free and every day. Ideally, if you can afford seven to nine hours of sleep, you can be equipped with much more immunity than other ways.

5. Keep calm and carry on

Stress of any kind is related to a plethora of clinical conditions. Worry is definitely a gift that doesn’t appreciate loneliness. It comes free with several disorders and brews the possibility of more in the pipeline. When you stress that much, there is a strong possibility that you would have fawned the virus’s appetite to replicate. Remember the song, “Don’t worry be happy."

6. Exercise is therapy

You have already heard this in the past from many health pundits; today may be a good day to start. If heavy aerobic activity is not for you, walking and breathing (Pranayam) can certainly help. Some breathing exercises could be as simple as deep breathing for three to five minutes with breathing in through your nose for a count of five, holding it for a few seconds, and breathing out through the mouth at a count of five.

7. Maintain good hygiene

If you are in India, you have most certainly heard the audio message by the Ministry of Health about maintaining good hygiene like washing your hands and covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing.

8. Practise social distancing

This may be a good time to finish writing that book or reading those hundreds of books that you bought but never read. Or perhaps go on an overdrive of Netflix. Avoid large gatherings and meetings. Remember sleep is important so make sure you get that while binge-watching. The Indian government has recently placed a lot of travel bans, in any case, making it easier to cancel conferences, meetings, and more.

9. Supplement your diet

Add supplements like Zinc, Vitamin C, D, and E, especially if you have genetic predisposition to have low levels. Avoid overdosing especially with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E. and K. Consult a doctor.

10. Channelise your inner OCD

Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the home and workplace such as countertops, sinks, seating, workstations, and doorknobs.

Remember, the virus travels without a passport or a visa. It is rather easy to get infected if you get in contact with someone already infected. With testing highly regulated and restricted in most countries, the best way is to not panic, make sure we can build our defence using these simple points, and continue to live our lives.

(Edited by Suman Singh)

Ms Anu Acharya is the founder and CEO of

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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