Tips, Tools, and Research for Staying Healthy and Bolstering Your Immune System

Tips, Tools, and Research for Staying Healthy and Bolstering Your Immune System

Tips, Tools, and Research for Staying Healthy and Bolstering Your Immune System

The question on everyone’s mind right now seems to be: How can I stay healthy? With flu season in full
swing and more developments coming every day on the novel coronavirus, it’s helpful to be informed, prepared, and vigilant for
your health and for the health of those around you. While you may want to get some basics (canned foods, groceries,
hand sanitizer), we don’t necessarily recommend buying out your local Costco’s toilet paper supply to plan for
Armageddon. What doesn’t hurt: following preventive guidelines to stay healthy and doubling down on your immunity
arsenal.

We rounded up some tips and tools that can generally support our well-being, along with resources from the World
Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that you can turn to for more timely updates.

What We Know So Far about COVID-19

COVID-19 is a form of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It is a respiratory disease that was first detected in China and has now spread across the globe, with over 125,000 confirmed cases globally and more than 4,600 global deaths as of March 12 (see the WHO situation reports that are released daily).

  1. How it spreads: COVID-19 spreads from person to person through close contact or droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes. People are most contagious when they have symptoms; however, it may also spread before people are symptomatic (CDC).
  2. Symptoms: Two to fourteen days after exposure, symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath may appear (CDC). Other, rarer symptoms such as sore throat and diarrhea have also been reported.
  3. What to do if you are sick: If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and isolate yourself, avoiding contact with other people and pets. If you live with another person, practice rigorous hygiene, disinfect surfaces regularly, and avoid sharing items. Call your doctor, tell them that you may have COVID-19, and ask them to alert your local or state health department. Have your doctor determine when it is safe to end home isolation (CDC).
  4. How serious is COVID-19: Most reports of COVID-19 are generally mild. However, older adults, those with existing health conditions, and people who are immunocompromised are more likely to develop a serious form of illness that may be fatal (CDC). This is why it’s especially important to isolate yourself if you have symptoms so that you do not spread it to susceptible people.
  5. How to protect yourself: There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, although there is one in development that may be available in one to two years. To protect yourself from infection, wash your hands regularly for at least twenty seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your face (read this New York Times article for tips on how to resist the urge). Disinfect items you touch often, such as your phone or laptop, with EPA-registered household disinfectants. Avoid close contact with others who may have symptoms (CDC).
  6. The flu versus COVID-19: Both the flu and coronavirus have similar symptoms, are contagious, and can be mild or severe depending on the person. While scientists know a lot about the flu, their knowledge of COVID-19 is still developing as they gather information. There is a vaccine for the flu; there is not an available vaccine for COVID-19.

    Foods and Supplements to Nourish Your Body

    If you’re looking for foods to generally support your health, these are some of our favorite recipes as well as nutrition advice from experts that’s helpful any time of year. As far as supplements go, we’ve got two on our radar: zinc and vitamin D. Zinc may help shorten the duration of the common cold, and vitamin D may protect against respiratory infections. And while you’ve probably been told that you should double down on vitamin C, the research is slightly mixed—some studies have shown it’s beneficial at shortening the common cold, while other studies have found it isn’t. It’s possible that vitamin C is helpful for some people and also that taking an extra supplement may give some of us peace of mind.

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      The Immune-Friendly Soups We’re Eating This Flu Season

      Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, gave our food editor, Caitlin O’Malley, a list of immune-supporting ingredients. And Caitlin came up with four new feel-good soups: a creamy chicken stew that gets its richness from peanuts, a sweet and spicy coconut parsnip purée, a lighter goulash with root veggies, and a clam stew with spinach.

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    • Eating to Beat Disease

      Eating to Beat Disease

      On The goop Podcast, chief content officer Elise Loehnen interviews Harvard physician William Li, MD, about what the body is capable of when it’s properly supported by both food and medicine. (We also interviewed Dr. Li for a Q&A on the site.)

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    • The Longevity Conversation

      The Longevity Conversation

      For this episode of goopfellas, cohosts Seamus Mullen and Will Cole, DC, sat down with functional medicine practitioner Steven Gundry, MD. Gundry, who is the author of The Longevity Paradox, shared his perspective on foods, habits, and supplements that may keep us healthier, longer.

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    • What to Cook for People Who Have the Flu

      What to Cook for People Who Have the Flu

      While eating may be the last thing on our minds when we’re sick, it’s essential to keep up our strength. Here: three easy and good-for-us dishes that will soothe, satiate, and help support the body.

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    Relevant Research

    What’s the deal with elderberry? Should I use a humidifier? Is hand sanitizer as effective as handwashing? We turned to the latest research to find answers. Plus: a Q&A about the importance of vaccinations with Jennifer Zavolinsky, MHS, the director of Vaccinate Your Family.

    Our Immunity Arsenal

    Nothing here is a cure (clearly), but we do like popping Perfect Attendance chews as if they were candy, and there are a few things that make the common cold more bearable in our experience (like a certain bath and manuka honey). Over the years, we’ve also asked herbalists and holistic practitioners to share their wellness toolboxes with us.

    • Why We’re Taking an Elderberry Chew All Flu Season Long

      Why We’re Taking an Elderberry Chew All Flu Season Long

      No one’s as chipper, energetic, or productive as our director of wellness strategy, Kelly Burke. We decided to cherry-pick immunity tips from her wellness regimen.

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    • A Guide to 12 Popular Herbal Supplements

      A Guide to 12 Popular Herbal Supplements

      There are a lot of herbal supplements out there. Some have anecdotal evidence behind them, some have research behind them, some have both, and some have neither. So: Which ones are worth trying? We asked experts with slightly different perspectives to weigh in on a dozen herbs we’re curious about.

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    • 10 Feel-Better Tricks and Immune Boosters

      10 Feel-Better Tricks and Immune Boosters

      From a rare New Zealand honey to something soft to slip into when battle must be done from bed, these are the comforting elements we turn to when we want to support our bodies or feel relief while we get some much-needed rest.

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    • Warding Off Sickness

      Warding Off Sickness

      Holistic practitioner Amy Myers, MD, shares advice on what we can do to stay healthy during cold and flu season.

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    This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.