How to increase your chances of beating any virus?

Raise your hand if you have experienced any sense of anxiety, fear or stress as a result of COVID-19 news. As we near the end of this first week of Shelter-in-Place and Stay-at-Home orders for most of us in north Texas, I wanted to check-in and share some of my thoughts.

 I wish I could tell you there is a simple way to never be exposed to any bacteria, viruses or germs and never get sick but as we all know that is nearly impossible. So let’s talk about two different ways you could decrease your chances of getting sick.

First would be to minimize your exposure to bacteria and viruses, which is exactly what we are trying to do during this COVID-19 pandemic:

1.            Wash hands

2.            Cover your mouth when coughing or cough in your elbow

3.            Don’t touch your mouth or eyes.(Don’t put dirty objects in your mouth either)

4.            Keep safe distance from others(Social distancing)

5.            Stay home if you know you are sick or stay away from someone if you know they are sick

Second way to decrease your chances of getting sick is to boost your defense ie your immune system.

Don’t forget our body has a natural defense system to fight virus and bacteria. The immune system is our body’s defense mechanism that protects us and attacks virus and bacteria that we come in contact with. So if we could boost our immune system it would decrease our chances of getting sick.

Following are a few ways to help support your immune system so it’s ready to fight those harmful bacteria and viruses:

1.            Eat healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetable and whole grains.

2.            Exercise. Try to get at least 30 mins of exercise daily.

3.            Don’t smoke and/or only drink alcohol in moderation.

4.            Get adequate sleep. Generally 7-9 hours of sleep daily.

5.            Try to minimize stress. Easier said than done sometime. Techniques such as focus breathing, body scan, mindful mediation, guided imagery and prayer all help reduce stress.

I know most of you already know this information but I am hoping as you read this you become more mindful and implement these habits in your daily routine.

Be safe and stay healthy.

Your mouth is a window to your overall health

There is a strong connection between your oral health and systemic health. Taking good care of your teeth will help you maintain good general health. Several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, respiratory disease, cancer, endocarditis, premature birth and low-birth weight have been linked to poor oral health. It has been shown that the risk of having these conditions is higher in patients with unhealthy mouths. In all of these diseases the bacteria in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body, such as heart, lungs and arteries.

There are several systemic diseases that affect your oral health. Some of these include diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disease and cancer.  Also, certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants negatively impact your oral health. Patients that have been diagnosed with any of these conditions are at a higher risk of having problems in their mouths.

In order to keep bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum, it is imperative to have a healthy oral regimen. This includes having regular dental checkups and professional cleanings, as well as replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Also, avoiding tobacco and having a healthy diet will help maintain a healthy mouth. Remember, the mouth is the window to your overall health.