Managing Overall Health

Tips to Stay Healthy

Individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Even if you do not have underlying chronic conditions, everyone can take action to keep their body resilient and healthy:

  • Quit smoking and vaping now. Evidence suggests that those who smoke may be at greater risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19. Learn more in this fact sheet. It is well-established that stopping smoking improves lung function within a few months. This reduces susceptibility to respiratory illnesses and improves immune function, along with many other benefits not directly related to COVID-19. Visit www.quitlinenc.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.
  • Keep your diabetes under control. Follow your doctor’s orders for checking your blood sugar and managing your diet. Also ensure you have adequate supplies of testing equipment and medications on hand. In the event you are sick and unable to eat, keep simple carbs nearby like juice, honey, jam and hard candies to help keep your blood sugar up. Visit diabetesmanagementnc.com to learn more.
  • Exercise in whatever way you can while following social distancing and your local and state government guidance.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control by limiting alcohol and sodium intake, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing physical activity, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. Frozen or canned is fine, just watch for added sodium or sugar.
  • Get a flu vaccine. It is not too late to get a flu shot to protect yourself from the flu.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Keep taking your prescribed medications, including supplements your doctor may have recommended to help with deficiencies such as iron or other micronutrients.
  • Limit your alcohol intake which will help with chronic illnesses, sleep and stress management.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Your Immune System

The immune system, which is made up of several different cells and proteins, is important for your ability to deal with exposures to infectious diseases such as COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic there are a few things that you can do that may improve the function of your immune system.
 
  • Exercise: Data show that moderate to vigorous exercise increases the release and circulation of immune cells important for your body’s ability to respond to infections. However, it is critical if you vigorously exercise that you maintain adequate hydration and carbohydrate intake. Limiting these may diminish the benefit of exercise on the immune system and your general health.
  • Manage Stress: Continued levels of stress may diminish your ability to respond to infections through the production of the anti-inflammatory protein cortisol. Studies have shown that individuals with increased stress are more likely to become infected with a virus. Approaches to limit stress such as yoga, meditation or exercise may be helpful for better immune function.
  • Healthy Diet: Multiple studies have indicated that certain diets decrease the inflammatory response which may be important in limiting the damage caused by infections. Fermentable fiber may be important in the production of products in the intestine that limit inflammation. Beans and legumes are good sources of this fiber. Resistant starches are also helpful and are found in cashews, green bananas, oats and cooled white rice and potatoes in addition to beans and legumes.  
  • Supplements: It is not clear if supplements can improve the fitness of your immune system. There are data to show that intake of vitamin D has been associated with a decrease in viral infections in the winter. Zinc intake has also been shown in small studies to reduce the risk of viral infections. Other supplements that may be helpful are vitamin C, selenium, and folate especially if you are deficient in these. Elderberry may also be helpful to improve your immune health. However, none of these approaches have been approved by federal agencies to treat or prevent viral infections. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What cleaning products should I use to prevent the spread of COVID-19? What should be cleaned?

What cleaning products should I use to prevent the spread of COVID-19? What should be cleaned?

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, tables, desks, toilets, sinks, hard-back chairs. First, clean dirty surfaces with detergent or soap and water. Disinfect surfaces with diluted household bleach solution (1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water), alcohol solutions of 70%+ alcohol or EPA-registered household disinfectants. Use gloves or wash hands thoroughly after cleaning. More from the CDCCurrent evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces.

Find more information on household planning.

Should I wear a mask?

Should I wear a mask?

Following CDC cloth face coverings guidance, Executive Order 138 recommends that people wear a cloth face covering when they leave their house and may be near (less than 6 feet) from other people who are not family or household members. Covering your face is about helping others. By covering your face when you go out for essential reasons, you are being a good neighbor and community member.

It is still recommended that you stay at least 6 feet way from other people (social distancing) and frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This is especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms. The very best evidence on reducing the spread is to maintain social distance and stay at home, in addition to following the prevention measures.

Cloth coverings can play a part in controlling the spread if they are used properly and in combination with other everyday preventive actions like washing hands and wiping down surfaces. If used incorrectly, face coverings can expose someone to more germs. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing or adjusting a face covering and wash hands immediately after removing or adjusting.

The CDC does not recommend medical masks as our supplies of masks need to first go to those who work on the frontlines, including health care workers.

Read the FAQs on Cloth Face Coveringsfor more information.