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Feeding Your Immune System to Fight Against COVID-19

Gurwin Family of Healthcare Services


As we phase in more of the everyday activities we once enjoyed, it’s important to remember that this is a “new normal,” not necessarily the normal we were once accustomed to. As a society, we are learning new habits and lifestyle choices that will help to protect us when we venture out in our communities.

The risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are still very real. After months of isolating at home, we may feel impatient to get back to our lives, feeling a bit less concerned about its effects, but we all must stay vigilant in order to prevent a second wave. How do we keep our guard up?

Masks or other face coverings should be worn whenever we leave our households, especially when there is potential for interaction with someone who may have been exposed to the virus (for example, healthcare workers) or with someone especially vulnerable to it (seniors, individuals with respiratory issues, and/or individuals with weak immune systems). The Centers for Disease Control recommends keeping six feet between you and anyone not in your household; be sure to avoid anywhere there will be crowds that won’t allow for proper social distancing.

When touching surfaces that are accessible to the public, use gloves whenever possible, keep your hands away from your face and mask, and remember to wash or sanitize your hands after removing gloves. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds (about two rounds of singing Happy Birthday), or sanitized with 62 percent alcohol sanitizer (while rubbing hands together until dry), in both cases taking care to scrub the front, back, between fingers and under fingernails.

According to Judith Creeron, Registered Dietitian at the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a healthy immune system is a key part of the defense against any virus, including COVID-19. You can bolster your immune system by consuming foods high in antioxidants which help defend the body against dangerous free radicals that increase the risk of disease. Your body produces its own, but there are various foods that also contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and carotenoids to naturally boost your immune system. Some top food choices high in antioxidants include:
• Citrus fruits
• red bell peppers
• broccoli
• dark chocolate
• tea
• yogurt
• fatty fish
• nuts
• berries

We have a responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones, and our community to continue our safety precautions as we near the fall season and a possible COVID-19 resurgence. In the meantime, maintaining a healthy immune system is something all of us can do to perhaps lessen our risk.

The Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a 460-bed nursing care facility in Commack, Long Island, and is part of the Gurwin Healthcare System, a renowned health-care provider offering a full continuum of healthcare and senior living services for the frail and elderly. The Center was named by Fortune Magazine as the #1 Best Workplace in the nation for Aging Services, and is the 2020 Best of Long Island award winner for adult day care and home health aides. Services provided at the Center include skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, advanced care, ventilator and respiratory care, on-site dialysis and infusion therapy, memory care, and palliative and hospice care, as well as both medical and social adult day programs and two home care programs. The 34-acre campus is also home to Gurwin Jewish~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community, and a proposed independent living community, Fountaingate Gardens. For more information, visit www.gurwin.org. Follow Gurwin on Facebook (bit.ly/GurwinNursingRehab) and on Twitter (@GurwinJewish).