Special Report

16 Tips to Prevent Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

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Make sure you get enough Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin is crucial for healthy bones, but it may have another superpower — reducing the risk of respiratory infections. Analysis of data from 25 studies found vitamin D supplements reduced the overall risk of infection by about 10%, and it reduced it by about half in those who were initially vitamin D deficient.

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Eat plenty of colorful foods

Health experts say that a good way to keep our immune system healthy is to eat multi-colored cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. They are packed with antioxidants — nutrients good for your health — such as beta-carotene (found in items such as asparagus, beets, cantaloupe, turnip and collard greens, and tangerines, and tomatoes), vitamin C (Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, kiwi, orange, snow peas, sweet potato, and strawberries), and vitamin E (avocado, chard, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds).

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Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is necessary to fend off infections. Sleep researchers have found that sleep deprivation is linked to weaker immune systems. When you sleep, your body’s immune system releases protective proteins that help fend off infection. If you don’t get enough sleep, that can mean fewer disease-fighting antibodies. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours sleep. Those under 18 years old are recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep, with up to 17 hours for newborns (to three months old).

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Quit smoking

Cigarette smoke suppresses your body’s immune system. The reason is that nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, is an agent that weakens the immune system. Tar and toxins in cigarettes can wipe out antibodies, impeding the body’s capacity to ward off infections, so the body stays sicker longer. Cigarette smoke damages the lungs, putting you at greater risk for respiratory ailments like bronchitis and pneumonia.

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Drink a lot of water

Staying hydrated is important to keeping a healthy body. Drinking enough water may help certain immune system responses, according to some studies. How much water a person should drink a day depends on many factors, including weight, physical activity, climate, and general health. For example, a healthy adult man would be about 16 cups of water a day if he lives in a place with a temperate climate, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A healthy adult woman would need about 12 cups of water a day.