Guest post by Dr. Eduardo Dolhun, MD
It’s hard to believe the containment efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have gone on for almost six months now. All of us have had to navigate this new normal, whether that be finding creative ways to be active and exercise, managing working remotely–often times with children at home all day–or finding time for self-care. The pandemic has created an entirely new category of stressors, which can significantly impact our immune systems.
What I’m telling my patients is that it’s as important as ever that we stay the course, especially as we begin to head into the Fall cold and flu season, which is likely going to create an entirely new set of issues for the global pandemic response. While we get closer to a COVID-19 vaccination with every passing day, we should all take a few extra steps to maintain your health during this unprecedented time:
1. Implement a “foolproof” system when you’re leaving your home
Sometimes the best defense is not having to fight at all. The immune system is enormously complex, and a prior infection is no guarantee of immunity against COVID-19. The WHO and other medical bodies have reported that “it’s too early to state” whether exposure to and detection of antibodies floating around the blood confer immunity to a second infection. So, guarding yourself against the virus, and other pathogens, is essential.
I grew up in Wisconsin and went to medical school in Minnesota. When temperature gets to minus 20 or below, you simply don’t leave the house without a coat, hat and gloves. It’s just what you do … or else you get frostbite. The difficulty with this virus is that it doesn’t provide the kind of immediate feedback that freezing temperatures do, so it’s important to develop “triggers” to reinforce these habits. Leave masks and hand sanitizer on your entryway table. This way, you’ll never walk out the door without the tools you need to protect yourself and others.
2. Choose your adventures wisely
If you go somewhere with folks from outside your home, know and choose your buddies well. People who like to socialize frequently are at higher risk than those who spend more time reading books at home—meaning they’re more likely to spread COVID-19 or other infectious diseases like the Flu. If you can’t contact trace someone with 99% assuredness, you shouldn’t get within six feet of them. And certainly don’t get in a car with them.
With Covid-19, dose matters: the level of exposure to the virus matters. The smaller the dose, the better your immune system is able to fight it off. If you’re in close range and downwind, you’re more likely to get a large dose, putting yourself at higher risk for becoming infected.
3. Avoid dehydration
Whether it’s caused by exercise or one too many glasses of wine, dehydration has a devastating impact on your immune system, making your body unable to flush out toxins as fast as it normally would. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids and electrolytes throughout the day and consider integrating a rehydration solution into your daily routine. My staple is DripDrop ORS. It comes in a small, disposable packet and you simply mix it with water, and is a proven alternative to a saline IV drip for mild to moderate dehydration. DripDrop ORS is also safe for children, tastes great and provides you with an abundance of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, to help keep your immune system healthy and strong.
For more information about the benefits of dehydration treatment and prevention, and the impact it can have on your immunity, please visit www.dripdrop.com.
Dr. Eduardo Dolhun is a board certified American Family Physician with a private practice in San Francisco, California. He was awarded the 2017 Mayo Clinic Humanitarian Achievement Award and is the founder of DripDrop, an advanced oral rehydration solution company.