Improve Your Chances of Escaping COVID-19 at Home

  • By Lee Kum-sook

    March 07, 2020 08:22

    Coronavirus may be turning into an epidemic, but there are some ways of bolstering your chances of escaping it. The Korean Society of Infectious Diseases and other expert groups have warned that the next few weeks will be the most crucial phase of the epidemic and advised the public to stay indoors and refrain from coming into contact with others.

    But staying at home for long periods of time is also unhealthy, which is why exercise and decent nutrition can be vital. Especially people suffering from diabetes and hypertension must ensure that they do not gain too much weight.

    ◆ Ventilation

    Indoor air quality can deteriorate quickly if you stay at home for long periods. Air purifiers cannot get rid of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds that build up in the air in the home. So far, there have been no documented cases of aerial transmission of COVID-19. In other words, there is no danger of contracting the virus by leaving the windows open. That means it is important to ventilate your home at least three times a day for 10 minutes at a time. Be sure to open windows in the front and back of your homes to ensure air circulation.

    ◆ Sunlight

    Vitamin D is also important, so try to expose yourself to some sunlight when the windows are open. Getting adequate sunlight also causes the body to secrete ample amounts of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep, and helps you get a good rest. Yoo Byung-wook at Soonchunhyang University Hospital in Seoul said, "Your immune system could weaken when your body temperature drops, so get some sunlight near the windows even if this produces just a limited amount of vitamin D. Better still, put on a mask and go for a walk at the warmest time of the day."

    ◆ Daily Exercise

    It is easy to put on weight at home. According to some studies, people with obesity have a higher chance of respiratory infections than people with lower body weights, which is why it is important to squeeze in some daily exercise that improves circulation and boosts immunity. Around 20 to 30 minutes of daily indoor exercise is recommended.

    ◆ Lots of Fruit and Vegetables

    Zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E all boost the immune system, and fruit and vegetables contain ample amounts of these nutrients. "You need to consume around 500 g of fruit and vegetables a day," said Lee Song-mi, a nutritionist at Yonsei University's Severance Hospital. "A mixture of green, orange, yellow, red and purple vegetables and fruits is best." She said protein is also important, since immune cells are composed mostly of that substance. "You should also consume 70 to 90 grams of protein every day, simply by eating one or two ping-pong-ball-sized pieces of beef, chicken or pork every meal." Fish, beans or milk also provide protein.

    ◆ Warm Water

    To keep the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract moist, it is important to drink around 1.5 liters of water a day, which translates into seven to eight cups. Warm water is best since iced water can give you a cough. Sugary drinks are not recommended since they can lead to rising blood-glucose levels. Coffee and coke contain caffeine, which is excreted through urine and also not recommended. Indoor humidity should be kept at between 40 and 60 percent.

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