Do you remember the early days of 2020 when the thought of a global pandemic sounded absurd? Even once the country started to shut down- we couldn’t possibly believe that the pandemic would last more than a few weeks or months.
Fast forward 15 months later- we are finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. The more people that get vaccinated, the closer we get to herd immunity. And that means the end of this long COVID-19 pandemic.
This pandemic has shown us the importance of vaccinations, disease prevention, and having a healthy immune system. All of which will be critical moving forward. B.Komplete is here to answer all of your questions surrounding the vaccine, while explaining how and why you should take action to promote your health and prevent disease.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of a Cure
Disease prevention is divided into three categories:
- Primary: Vaccinations, behavior change (eating habits, tobacco use, etc), and avoiding substances that are associated with a disease.
- Secondary: Screening to detect a disease in its early stages, making treatment easier.
- Tertiary: Managing the disease to slow or stop its progression.
Disease prevention and health promotion go hand in hand. Healthy lifestyle changes can lower your risk for certain diseases and boost your immunity against viruses like COVID-19.
Actions You Can Take to Prevent Disease and Promote Health
If you are still apprehensive about getting vaccinated- you are not alone! There has been so much confusion surrounding the vaccine: Was it rushed? If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need to get the vaccine? Is it safe?
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was developed using traditional virus-based methods. Moderna and Pfizer are new types of vaccines that use mRNA to trigger an immune response and can be developed much faster than conventional vaccines. Although the COVID-19 vaccines were developed fairly quickly, research on mRNA vaccines started nearly 15 years ago. Additionally, there are many different kinds of coronaviruses with structures similar to COVID-19. Therefore, scientists have been studying these types of viruses for over 50 years. Because of this ongoing research and proper funding, scientists were able to expedite the development of these vaccines.
Here are some other reasons you should consider getting vaccinated:
- COVID-19 can be life threatening and there is no way of knowing how you or those around you will be affected.
- The vaccine makes you less likely to spread the virus to your family and friends.
- If most of the population gets vaccinated, we can reach herd immunity. This means that the virus is less likely to spread because we all have the antibodies to protect us. When we reach herd immunity- this pandemic will be a memory, not a current reality.
- The vaccines showed they were safe and effective during clinical trials before being authorized by the FDA.
- Although contracting COVID-19 does give you antibodies, research cannot conclude how long you will be protected. Therefore, you should still get vaccinated.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
We’ve all heard that classic saying before! While no single food can prevent you from getting sick- research shows a nutritious diet can boost your immune system and reduce your risk for chronic disease. One recent study even showed that plant-based diets may correlate with a lower risk for a severe case of COVID-19.
Here are some general guidelines on how to eat a more nutritious, well-balanced diet:
- Focus on getting lots of fruits and vegetables- the more color the better because it means you are getting in extra nutrients!
- Make sure you are getting enough whole grains and fiber.
- Incorporate more plant-based sources of protein like beans, lentils, tofu, and edamame.
- Be mindful of your sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar intake.
- Start slow and do what works for YOU! A healthy diet is only beneficial if you can actually stick to it!
Health screenings help detect diseases in their early stages when they are easier to treat. Some of the most common screenings are:
- Breast cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Prostate cancer in men
Regular exercise is shown to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Some cancers
One recent study even showed that exercise can help your immune system fight off COVID-19.
Yoga, going for a walk, strength training, or even dancing are great ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. You can also increase your physical activity by gardening, mowing the lawn, taking the stairs, and walking your dogs. Find the form of exercise that works for you and stick with it. Don’t wait for tomorrow to exercise – start today.
Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sick when you are stressed? While some stress is normal, constant stress wreaks havoc on your immune systems making you more susceptible to getting sick. Not only that, it can also increase your risk for chronic disease.
Therefore, taking care of your mental health is key to taking care of your physical health as well. In addition to nutrition and exercise, good sleep, strong relationships, and seeking professional help are all ways to improve your mental health. B.Komplete offers Stress Reduction and Mental Health Webinars that can provide you and your employees with actionable guidance on managing stress and improving overall well being.
All aspects of your health and lifestyle overlap. For example, exercising and eating healthier will reduce your risk of disease, improve your mental health, and give your immune system a boost. While lifestyle changes do greatly reduce your risk of chronic disease and other illnesses, health screenings and vaccinations are another necessary precaution for prevention. It may all seem overwhelming at first, but choosing to make small changes each day is a great place to start. And it is so worth it because as Virgil once said, “the greatest health is wealth.”