Practicing healthy habits is the one thing we can all do to help reduce the risk of infection and improve our chances of recovery from COVID-19.
"Since we do not yet have a vaccine to prevent infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the best way to protect yourself is to minimize your risk of exposure to the virus and keep yourself as healthy as possible in general," says Joshua Thurman, M.D. "Masking, hand washing, and social distancing are currently the best methods of minimizing your risk of exposure."
Knowing the facts about COVID-19 is important to reducing anxiety about the pandemic, says the Centers for Disease Control. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can help you connect with others and make an outbreak less stressful.
Dr. Thurman notes: "Some people develop only mild disease when they are infected with COVID-19, whereas for others the infection is life-threatening. Unfortunately, we do not yet fully understand who is at greatest risk and how to protect them. It is clear, however, that people with other health conditions are more susceptible to severe disease if they become infected. This susceptibility means that the things that make you healthier — a good diet, regular exercise, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep — may be the best things you can do for yourself."
It's especially easy to let good habits slip and bad habits form during stressful times. The Centers for Disease Control provides detailed recommendations and resources about how to recognize and minimize your stress levels during this pandemic.
"Unfortunately, the pandemic is upon us right now, and it is hard to change your habits quickly. Nevertheless, it can't hurt to try. After all, your health will still be important even after we find a way to prevent this virus," says Dr. Thurman.
ABOUT OUR EXPERT
Dr. Joshua Thurman, MD is a board-certified nephrologist and Professor of Medicine specializing in renal medical diseases and hypertension at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. He has been in practice for more than 22 years.