As we step into 2022, the third year of the pandemic, we acknowledge the need to be better prepared for the uncertainties that come with the constantly mutating coronavirus. This holds larger significance for the more susceptible demographics such as the senior citizen population in the country. A healthy body and strong immunity can considerably increase one’s chances of tackling the virus better. As the country reels under the increasing cases of Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus and the risk of the third COVID-19 wave looms over the people, take this new year as a new opportunity to focus on your health and strengthen your body during the ongoing pandemic.
Here are a few things one can do to boost one’s immunity this year:
A Jab Is The Right Direction
The first thing one needs to keep in mind is to ensure that both doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been taken. Ensure that those around you are also vaccinated and those who are eligible for the ‘precautionary dose’ register themselves and take the required jab on time. India has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the global fight against the pandemic through vaccine development despite facing a formidable challenge of vaccinating a large population. The country is steadily and continuously moving ahead with a clear vaccine road map in place. It is important to ensure you have taken the vaccines in the prescribed format to give your body the chance to develop antibodies and strengthen its immune system.
A Healthy Diet: The Stepping Stone To Building Immunity
Eating healthy is very important during the ongoing pandemic. This year, be mindful of what you put in your body. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection as of now, healthy diets are important for supporting the immune system. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer and combat comorbidities.
Chef Arun Karara, Head Of Cuisine Creation At Antara Senior Living, Dehradun, a private company that works towards creating residential spaces for senior citizens and providing them with care, emphasised the importance of understanding the fact that food is medicine is consumed properly.
It is a popular belief that ‘healthy’ food for the elderly is bland and boring. However, it does not have to be so. Healthy and nutritious food can be made tasty and appealing. Food is a powerful source of energy as well as macro and micro nutrients required for strengthening our immune system. One must make oneself aware about the food they consume. Having said that, it’s important to think about the dietary needs of yourself and those around you as well. The meals should be well-balanced with protein, fibre, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adopting healthy ways of adding flavours such as fresh herbs and spices, and avoiding fried food will help in the long run. Finally, if one has trouble with chewing or swallowing, soft foods, smoothies, and soups that are easy to eat and drink can come to the rescue, Chef Arun Karara said.
An Active Lifestyle Holds The Key
It is crucial to have an active lifestyle and proper diet to keep diseases at bay. Exercising is highly recommended to build immunity. It is important to understand your body and opt for exercises that make sense for you. Senior citizens must also remain physically active and can opt for exercises that are less strenuous on the body such as yoga, long walks among others while younger individuals can go for more rigorous forms of activity.
Preventive Health Checks To Stay On Top Of Things
It is crucial to focus on preventive checks to ensure you can address issues early and give your immunity a robust chance of fighting back. Through regular health check-ups, people, especially senior citizens and those with comorbidities can get ahead of any forthcoming ailments and prepare for a healthier and longer life.
With COVID-19, doctors today insist on teleconsultations and advise non-COVID-19 patients against visiting hospitals. It is important we minimise the chances of getting infected and avoid adding further strain on an already strained healthcare infrastructure.
The Care at Home services brings the whole healthcare ecosystem to the comfort of one’s home. Tests such as X-rays, pathology, ECG, physiotherapy, and radiology can be taken at home, making health check-ups more accessible and convenient for the elderly. The right kind of services and treatments at the right time can give you a proper insight into the disease and help you take preventive measures against it. Home delivery of services in nursing, remote monitoring of patients, medical equipment, post-operative care, and other diagnostic, therapeutic or pathological services ensure convenience and prevent the need to step out of home and expose oneself to the risk of COVID-19 infection while taking preventive tests.
(Written by Dr. Shabnam Mir, consultant physician, and head of clinical services at Antara, a private company that works towards creating residential spaces for senior citizens and provide them with care)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.