We have just weathered two years of chaos and confusion, and it does not seem to stop. The novel coronavirus pandemic was a surprise and changed our lives forever. Many people likely feel like experts when it comes to the immune system, infective organisms, and modes of transmission, heretofore unfamiliar except through Hollywood movies. We all seem to be living in a fictional world with new problems from which we might never recover.
1) Get Vaccinated
Become vaccinated against COVID-19 if you haven't yet, or obtain the booster if you’ve already had the first two shots of Pfizer or Moderna. Get a second shot if your choice was J&J. Get a flu shot for good measure.
Coming into the new year, we face the very real possibility that COVID will be with us forever, plus we might be reeling from the spikes of infections due to holiday gatherings. Let’s make sure that we protect ourselves, our families, and our friends. Even though new oral agents to inhibit enzymes of viral replication or corrupt viral RNA with sophisticated biology are being developed, the vaccine is still the age-old, tried-and-true method of protection and prevention, and this vaccine is ultrasafe and molecular unto itself.
2) Support Vaccination Efforts
Become a vaccine advocate and promote the vaccine to members of your church, temple, mosque, family, or neighborhood community. Learn about the science of the three different vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson. Become a mini expert.
3) Support Your Immune System
Treat your body well by enhancing your own immune system or biological soul. Stop smoking because it could be the single factor that takes years off your life. Your immune system is like a complex and delicate piece of machinery, and it needs to be nurtured and kept up-to-date with maintenance and repairs. An occasional drink of alcohol is fine, but daily alcohol is also a limiting factor that suppresses your immune system.
Here’s one that you might make every year before using your Peloton or treadmill as a coat rack. Exercise is the one thing that I always recommend as a technique to slow the effects of aging and boost your immunity. I don’t mean extreme exercise like a triathlon, but a simple jog or walk daily.
Act like the religion of care for your body is paramount to everything else in life. Those who mock you or suggest otherwise will be sick long before you if you follow this important resolution, especially now during COVID times when we are stuck in the house for work or school.
5) Mind Your Microbiome
Be mindful of your diet because your inner population of organisms is exceedingly important to your immune system. No vaccine will work if your inner microbiome is disturbed. Ingestion of antibiotics, unneeded medicines, and harmful drugs like alcohol will work to decrease or even eliminate the organisms upon which your microbiome depends. Use pre- and probiotics on a regular basis. A simple dish of yogurt daily should do the trick, but there are more sophisticated pre- and probiotics available in your local supermarket.
Learn to meditate. Relaxation recharges your inner battery, and nothing helps the immune response more than learning to rest and relax. Yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, and any other mode of inner peace can help fight diseases and infections. As a doctor, I meditate every night before going to sleep, especially when I am stressed out.
7) Cultivate Relationships
Establish a relationship with a partner, be it your wife or husband or just an intimate friend. Sexual relationships (and sexual activity) are good for your immune system in multiple ways. Even if you are 80 years of age or older, a robust sexual appetite may help you live longer.
If you are unable to have sex at an older age, just cuddling with a partner can raise hormones like oxytocin and help ward off illness. Every time you connect with someone, you will elevate your resistance to infections. Consider sex a form of exercise. Exercise of any kind enhances sexual satisfaction, and sexual activity is the best for immunity and overall longevity.
8) Fight Misinformation
Overcome misinformation about your immune system and vaccines. Avoid disinformation at all costs. Disinformation is a purposeful attack on scientific facts. There are some people out there saying strange things. Do not politicize the vaccine or the dangers of the virus.
Dr. Robert Lahita writes about this in his new book, “IMMUNITY STRONG: Boost Your Natural Healing Power and Live to 100”. He coined a term that encapsulates this concept called the “biological soul”. Dr. Bob explains that this is the root of our immune system, a great protector responsible for our longevity.
Doctor Lahita is Clinical Professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a Professor at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and the Director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Disease St. Joseph's Healthcare System. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Master of the American College of Rheumatology, and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Lahita is the author of more than 16 books and 150 scientific publications in the field of autoimmunity.
Want to know more about your Biological Soul? You can get Dr. Bob’s new book, “Immunity Strong” here on Amazon.