Building Immunity Against The Third Wave Of COVID-19
Nobody would’ve guessed a few years ago that a global pandemic would hit the world, consuming thousands of people and shaking the world to its core. The way COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyle, from the education sector to attacking the very bread and butter of people, we have witnessed a lot in these almost 2 and a half years. The first wave even though crashed unexpectedly like a wave in the sea, the world became suddenly aware of how it feels to be confined. From the origin to what may help to tackle the virus, crowds were clueless and completely helpless.
The second wave was absolutely gruesome in India. The whole families getting infected, alarming reports of demises of loved ones and cases spreading like wildfire was even worse than the first wave. Not only the elderly and people with existing conditions were vulnerable anymore, from adolescents to middle-aged adults were also affected to an extent. The second wave became an eye opener to the public that the pandemic was not a joke and precautions, getting vaccinated and taking care of oneself has become the need of the hour. As the possibility of onset of a third wave is already in the discussions, where authorities claim that third wave is likely to target children this time, it is necessary to be well-informed of the precautionary actions one must take to shield themselves and their children.
One must remember that the vaccines provided shall certainly help you to guard yourselves against the severe effects of the virus yet the possibility of getting infected will always remain. Therefore, abandoning precautions after vaccination will prove harmful to you and your loved ones. Precautionary practices one must imbibe in their lives are regular sanitation of hands and surroundings, avoid crowds and practice social distancing, wearing masks, gloves and protective gear every time one has to leave their house (travelling only for urgent and unavoidable situations is advised) and the key is building a strong immune system.
Insufficient dietary intake and poor nutrition has a colossal effect on the immune system. Individuals with a poor immune system automatically becomes vulnerable to the virus. It is pivotal to build a concrete immune system to guard against the virus.
Various micronutrients are responsible for a healthy immune system such as vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12, B9 and minerals iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and copper.
Vitamin A: Helps in making antibodies and takes care of the structure of your skin, respiratory tract and gut. Vegetables possess beta-carotene which ultimately convert into vitamin A for your body. It is found in leafy vegetables, fish, egg yolks, pumpkin, carrots, dairy, nuts, whole grains and legumes.
Vitamin B: These are crucial for the body as they attack first after recognising the pathogen in the body. Production and activity of the ‘natural killer cells’ is the first response by the B vitamins.
- B2 affects neutrophil migration (found in dairy products, oats, cereals, beef liver etc.)
- B6 deficiency negatively impacts antibody production and T-cell function, impairs lymphocyte maturation (found in chickpeas, meat, cereals, potatoes, bananas etc,)
- B12 takes care of cell division and cell growth hence a crucial part of the immune system (found in seafood, meat, fish like tuna, salmon, trout, haddock and in dairy)
- B9 essential in the cell division process and takes an active role in cell production in blood forming organs and bone marrow (found in green vegetables, beans and legumes, oranges, whole grain, meat, shellfish etc.)
Vitamin C and E: Help in the prevention and handling of the oxidative stress which arises from the fight against the pathogens. Vitamin C also handles the cellular mess created by the stress. Vitamin in found in oranges, lemons, limes, broccoli, tomatoes, capsicum etc. Vitamin E is found in nuts, green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils. Some immune cells require Vitamin D’s assistance against the pathogens. Sunlight exposure and sources like fish, eggs, milk and margarine brands etc. provide Vitamin D.
Minerals such as iron, zinc and selenium offer major assistance against the pathogens.
Iron: It helps in increasing free radicals which kill pathogens as well as regulation of enzyme reactions are also done for recognition of the pathogens. Iron is found in meat, chicken and fish. Vegetarian sources include legumes, whole grains and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
Zinc acts as an antioxidant. Integrity of the skin and mucous membranes is handled by zinc. Zinc is found in oysters and other seafood, meat, chicken, dried beans and nuts.
Selenium influences the innate and acquired immune systems and is found in nuts (especially Brazilian nuts), shellfish, meat, egg, cottage cheese etc.
Acquiring supplements for certain nutrients is advisable if certain deficiency can’t be satisfied with nutritional intakes yet they must be taken with having your doctor, pharmacist or dietitian in the light. Nutritional measures can work wonders when teamed with ample hydration, adequate physical activity and a good night’s sleep. Pandemic has not only targeted the physiological and physical health but also the mental health. With third wave around the corner, it is important to be well in order to feel well.
As mentioned before, the third wave is likely to target children. Educating children on the consequences of avoiding precautionary activities is the first priority. Urging children to stay home and engage more in indoor activities than running outside is crucial. From sanitisation to social distancing, they must diligently practice them. Children are prone to touch contaminated spaces often if left unattended, therefore constant supervision is a must in these times. A special focus on the nutritional intake, sleeping quality and quantity as well as small physical practices which are fun and engaging shall protect your child. Even mild symptoms such as cough, mild fever, cold or situations such as loose motions, vomiting, pain in the abdomen is observed, the child shall be handled with care. If over 3 days of fever, another member in the family is infected or the child is exposed to a high-risk location, an immediate test is advised.
As we can observe now, the second wave cases are slowly and steadily decreasing as with the help of vaccines and precautions. We have been able to overcome the horror phase of the second wave and will certainly be able to tackle the third wave if it occurs with knowledge and proactive decisions!