How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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Your immune system is your body’s first line of defence against COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Comprised of organs, antibodies, proteins, chemicals and white blood cells, it works around the clock to keep infection-causing germs, such as COVID-19, at bay. When COVID-19 virus enters your body, your immune system will attempt to identify it. If deemed potentially harmful, it will then attack the pathogen with white blood cells, so that it is unable to spread.


Reduce Intake of Refined Sugar


Diets high in refined sugar can suppress your immune system and increase your risk of infectious illness. Also known as processed sugar, refined sugar contains no beneficial vitamins or nutrients. It is harvested from sugar canes and sugars beets. Then, it is added to many foods and beverages as a sweetener. A study conducted by researchers from the Loma Linda University found that consuming 100 grams of refined sugar reduces the effectiveness of white blood cells by up to 40 percent. Considering that white blood cells are the immune system’s primary weapon against infection-causing germs likeCOVID-19, this means consuming too much refined sugar can leave you vulnerable to the illness.


To strengthen your immune system, follow the American Heart Association’s (AHA) dietary guidelines by consuming no more than 25 grams of sugar daily, if you are a woman, or 38 grams daily, if you are a man.


Get 7 to 8 Hours of High-Quality Sleep Per Night


Insufficient sleep can also suppress your immune system

Insufficient sleep can also suppress your immune system. Sleep regulates your body’s metabolism, as well as its immune system function. When you do not get enough high-quality sleep, your immune system produces fewer infection-fighting compounds, like antibodies and proteins, thus increasing your risk for illness.


Aim for approximately seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep per night to promote a healthy immune system. If you struggle to fall asleep, try setting a schedule by lying down at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. After a while, your body’s circadian rhythm will adjust itself to this new routine, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.


Keep Your Stress Levels Low

Keep Your Stress Levels Low

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body. It elevates your blood pressure, disturbs your digestive system, slows down your metabolism and even suppresses your immune system. With that being said, short-term stress is not necessarily bad for your immune system. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, has been shown to reduce inflammation, thus assisting the immune system in fighting off COVID-19. However, people who suffer from stress for the period of multiple consecutive months or longer tend to develop a resistance to cortisol. As a result, their immune systems become less effective at fighting infection-causing germs.


To keep your stress levels low, consider the following tips:


   Reduce the intake of caffeinated beverages.

   Socialize with friends and family.

   Practice yoga.

   Light scented candles.

   Listen to music.

   Maintain a positive attitude.

   Get a deep-tissue massage.

   Stay active.

   Watch a funny movie or TV show.

   Take time off work.


Catch Some Sun Rays


We all know that sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which our bodies use to absorb calcium and build stronger bones. However, sunlight exposure can also strengthen your immune system. Research has shown that spending just 10 minutes under direct sunlight stimulates the body’s production of a specific type of white blood cell called T lymphocyte (T cell). As levels of T cells in your body rise, your immune system becomes better equipped to defend against COVID-19.


Of course, too much sunlight can damage your skin and negate its immune-boosting benefits. Wear sunscreen lotion when staying outdoors. And, if you see your skin turning pink or red, head indoors. Depending on your skin, as little as 30 minutes of sunlight exposure can damage your skin, if you do not wear sunscreen lotion.


Drink Lots of Water


There is a reason so many doctors tell patients to drink lots of fluids when ill. Water supports a healthy immune system. It assists the immune system by flushing toxins and germs through the urinary tract, as well as the lymphatic system. Water also moisturizes the mucous membrane lining your nose, so that it is less likely to dry out.


To determine how many ounces of water you need to drink per day, take your body weight and divide it by two. If you weigh 150 pounds, for example, you should consume about 75 ounces of water per day.


Exercise Regularly, But Don’t Overdo It


Exercising for 75 to 150 minutes per week can strengthen your immune system by suppressing the release of pro-inflammatory compounds known as cytokines. High levels of cytokines cause inflammation in the body while impairing the immune system’s ability to fight COVID-19 in the process. By exercising regularly, you will keep your body’s cytokine levels in check, so that it does not hinder your immune system’s functions. Furthermore, exercising helps you relax, both physically and mentally, which may have a positive impact on your stress levels.


Exercising can strengthen your immune system


But, you should not exercise too much. Long bouts of intense, vigorous exercises cause a negative impact by suppressing the immune system. That is because strenuous exercises promote the release of cortisol, which temporarily reduces the effectiveness of the immune system.


Eat More Probiotics


Not all microorganisms are harmful to your health. There are trillions of bacterial cells living in the average person’s body, some of which promote a healthy immune system by fighting bad germs that could otherwise cause an infectious illness. If these beneficial bacterial cells die off, COVID-19 can thrive.


To promote the growth of beneficial bacterial cells in your diet, add more probiotics to your diet. Probiotic food and beverages contain live cultures of beneficial microorganisms that, when consumed, work to neutralize COVID-19 in your digestive system. Yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread and cheese all contain probiotics.


Unless you live in a bubble, it is impossible to prevent all forms of infectious illness, such as COVID-19. You get exposed to too many germs on a daily basis. By strengthening your immune system, you can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, and stay safe and healthy.

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What is Burnout? Who is at Risk?


Burnout can strike anyone with practically no warning. For decades, burnout wasn’t even regarded as a real disease or condition. It was nothing more than an office buzzword. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has given it its own medical classification. It now finds its own entry in the International Classification of Diseases, the official handbook used by medical providers for the purpose of diagnosing diseases.


Today, burnout is recognized as a medical condition which can strike anyone with practically no warning. Waiters, teachers, bus drivers and nurses, burnout can strike us all leaving the body feeling completely powerless and low energy.


burnout in nursing statistics


According to a study carried out in 2018, 40 percent of 2,000 employees questioned said they were considering quitting their jobs because of burnout. Additionally, a similar study found that around 60 percent of work absenteeism was as a result of stress induced burnout.


Who is at Risk for Burnout?


According to many reports, burnout strikes perfectionist types more than other personality types. It seems to strike particularly idealistic people who also have strong sympathetic natures and those who work in professions focused on helping others such as doctors, nurses, social workers and teachers.


Contributing Factors to burnout in nursing


Contributing Factors


Feeling increasingly hassled without an accompanying support system seems to add a significant risk. A study involving a group of nurses revealed several factors leading to burnout:


• Working long hours


• Irregular lifestyle


• The burden of carrying a huge responsibility for patients


• Having to keep up to speed with ever changing medical equipment


• Lack of resources and support


Interestingly, studies found that, while there is a high percentage of nurses who succumb to burnout, obstetricians aren’t so equally prone. Although the latter also work long hours and encounter stress at work, it seems the appreciation they receive as a result of helping bring a new life into the world offsets the negative effects of the stress. Hence, it isn’t just stress per se that may trigger an episode of burnout, but rather stress combined with feelings of lack of appreciation and support that may leave one vulnerable.


What are the Symptoms of Burnout?


Signs of burnout may include persistent feeling of worry about going to work, along with chronic stress, fatigue and sleep problems. Someone experiencing burnout may find it practically impossible to leave the house or even the bedroom growing more and more cynical and perhaps even distant with friends and colleagues, while worrying unreasonably about work when physically away from work. They may find themselves irritated by minor things that usually wouldn’t even get a reaction.


Additionally, the far-reaching consequences can negatively impact other areas of life. In an effort to cope and reach out for some relief, someone might even become increasingly at risk for substance abuse creating a spiral of self-destruction.


Getting Priorities Right: A Path to Recovery


What is most important to you?


Is it the work you do or is it the relationship with your loved ones?


Avoid letting others make you feel that your priorities have to be the same as theirs. Not everyone is obligated to feel 150 percent devoted to their career. There are other paths to follow that are equally if not more rewarding. On the matter of getting your priorities in order, you were most likely exposed to an idea that income and possessions are keys to success from a very young age simply by the virtue of living in a consumer driven society. These messages are powerful and reinforced daily. Moreover, many people seemingly allow themselves to believe these messages with few questions asked.


However, many studies have found happiness and success are less likely to be associated with income and possessions than is commonly taught and believed by this highly materialistic culture. It is quite the contrary in fact. Many possessions may contribute to well-being. However, well-being levels don’t rise exponentially with an increase in wealth and possessions, but tend to level off regardless of what we come to have once we get over the threshold of simply having enough.


How to Say NO Respectfully?


Learning to say no doesn’t mean you should never go that extra mile. But, when you have a consistent tendency to never say no and find yourself going the extra hundred miles, you could be storing up a large amount of stress just waiting to burn you out at some point. If saying no involves speaking with your manager, you can do so respectfully and assure him or her that this doesn’t diminish your commitment, but that you feel you are at risk. You may need to rehearse and think deeply about how you can express what you want to say to make the most impact rather than leave it to a chance.


Of course, you must be realistic about what to expect from your employer. You can’t expect the same remuneration from your employer if you work less, but you must take control and determine how much less you can live on. No one can decide for you that your health, well-being and sanity are more important than your income. It is up to you.


Separate Yourself from Your Job


Move away from the deeply ingrained notion that your job is who you really are. If in your mind you have convinced yourself that you are identified with your job, you will struggle to put your work into perspective.


The notion that we are what we do is extremely deep-seated in certain cultures and in many parts of the world. It manifests itself in the language we use when we say: “I’m a nurse”, or when we innocently ask: “What do you do?”, giving an indication that your job is what you do and nothing else. Whereas, in reality, we do many, many things. We are and can infinitely be more than what we happen to do for a living.


So, don’t limit your perception of who you are by what you do. Don’t frame your identity around the way you make money for a living. Having an awareness that you are more than your job makes it easier to control your work, rather than letting it to control you.


Share Your Feelings


If you feel you may be at risk for burnout, talk to someone who can help. Take time to think about your priorities and how to reduce the hours you work. Be prepared to make changes. If necessary, find another job. Based on the most recent research findings, burnout is well-known as a condition. However, more support and counseling are needed for those feeling the energy sapping effects of what has, up until recently, been a largely invisible disease.

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