While people should not be panicking about the spread of coronavirus, they can definitely take precautions, health and fitness expert Adam MacDougall says. And the first line of defence is strengthening your immune system.

As scary as the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, might seem, there are actually some really easy ways to minimise your chances of contracting it, even if you should come into contact with someone who already has it.

And no, not one of the ways I’m about to list involves stockpiling a mountain of toilet paper, even if you decided to wrap yourself from head to toe in it.

In fact, your first, and perhaps most important, line of defence should be to keep a cool head.

On Friday, where were 77 confirmed cases of coronavirus in NSW, a state with a population of more than 7.5 million. That means that, as it stands, NSW has an infection rate of 0.00093 per cent. They’re hardly big numbers.

That’s not to say things might not get worse before they get better but for right now there is really nothing to panic about.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions. And happily, defending yourself against coronavirus also works just as effectively for any other flu-like illness, including catching a cold.

But before we talk about what you can do to improve your body’s immune system, let’s touch on what you should be doing to prevent COVID-19 entering your system in the first place.

One of the easiest ways for a virus to hitch a ride into your body is via your hands because no matter how many times a day you wash them, they are almost constantly collecting germs from the things you touch.

That wouldn’t be so big a problem, as your skin provides an effective barrier against germs, but it’s when you then touch your eyes, nose or mouth that those bugs can then enter your system – and one 2015 study, run in conjunction with the University of NSW, found the average person touches their face as often as 23 times every hour.

Which is why, along with washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and investing in a hand sanitiser which is at least 60 per cent alcohol, one of the most effective ways to keep yourself safe from viruses is to train yourself to touch your face less frequently.

But be warned, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

So to ensure your immune system is also in tip-top shape, follow these easy hacks, too.


1. Trust your gut

The microbes in your gut help tell your immune system what to do and so the more healthy microbes you’ve got, the stronger your resistance to certain illnesses.

2. Stress less

Hard advice to follow in times of crisis, I know, but studies have shown that people who report higher levels of stress are more susceptible to illnesses like the cold virus, which is spread in a similar way to COVID-19.

Likewise, healthy sleep is important. Another study found that people who sleep less than six hours a night were more than four times more likely to get sick.

3. Lay off the booze

Yep, studies have show that drinking to excess has a detrimental impact on your body’s immune system, and leaves the drinker at greater risk of respiratory illness.

Not only can alcohol impair your gut flora, but it also attacks other ways your body repels bugs, like through the mucus in your nose.

By Adam MacDougall, The Sunday Telegraph

Adam MacDougall is managed exclusively by The Fordham Company.

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