7 Tips for Staying Healthy as an Immunocompromised Person

Staying healthy as an immunocompromised person comes with its challenges, but with a few small changes and new habits you can live a healthy life. These seven tips will help keep your immune system healthy throughout the year, both by helping you care for yourself and helping you practice safe interactions with others. Each of these tips are easy to modify or manipulate so you can fit them into your lifestyle. Feel free to incorporate any restrictions or guidelines you already adhere to.

1. Exercise

Moving your body, raising your heart rate, and working up a sweat is a great way to help support your immune system as well as your body and mind. Wheelchair users may choose a range of exercise that can be adapted, from a simple nature walk/roll outside to swimming, weight-lifting, and team sports.

For those looking for something to do at home with little to no equipment, popular exercises include seated yoga, upper body weight-lifting, and dancing. Any activity that increases your heart rate is a good exercise option.

2. Eat Healthy

A healthy diet is always a good idea to support a healthy body, and small adjustments to one's diet can help with specific conditions. For example, dairy products are known to increase mucus production, and many people find they feel better then they reduce or eliminate dairy from their diet.

Eating healthy overall can include increasing your water intake, decreasing processed sugar, and reaching for fresh fruits and vegetables as part of each meal. There are many fruits and vegetables that can naturally boost your immune system and it may be a good idea to incorporate those into your daily diet as well.

Eating healthy looks different for each individual, and those with a compromised immune system should discuss dietary adjustments with their doctor to choose healthy options for their specific condition.

3. Take Vitamins and/or Supplements

There are many vitamins and supplements that are formulated to help your body fight illness and boost your immune system. These products are often rooted in natural ingredients and are a good alternative to over-the-counter medications, as they work with your body to help you stay healthy and fend off illness before you're sick.

The most popular vitamin for immune support is vitamin C, which is widely recommended during cold and flu season. You can supplement with tablets or capsules, or add citrus fruits like oranges or even strawberries to your diet. Other natural supplements that can support your immune system are apple cider vinegar and elderberry juice or syrup.

As with making changes to your diet, it's best to discuss supplements and vitamins with your doctor before adding them to your daily regimen, as some natural ingredients can affect other medications.

4. Spend Time Outside

Another excellent way to stay healthy and support your immune system is to spend time outside. Even something as simple as sitting in the fresh air and allowing the sunshine to warm your skin can help you not only stay physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well. Time outside can include a hobby or exercise, but quiet time outside can be useful to check in with yourself and connect with nature.

A couple using wheelchairs to enjoy the outdoors

Natural hobbies that can also support your immune system are gardening, which helps you connect with nature, along with hiking or nature walking/rolling, birdwatching, swimming, and outdoor sports.

5. Reduce Stress When Possible

One aspect of life that is known to reduce your immune response and can hinder your ability to stay healthy is stress. It's difficult to remove all stress from your life, but finding ways to reduce and manage stress when you can will help you keep your immune system healthy, as well as help you maintain good mental health. Setting up good daily routines is one way to reduce stress, as well as making time for self-care.

Reducing and managing stress can be done through self-care in a variety of ways from maintaining a good work/life balance, to making time for hobbies and down time so you can recharge. Journaling is a good way to help you examine the stress in your life to begin to understand where it comes from, how it affects you, and some strategies to help make changes to manage stress successfully.

6. Take Time for Rest and Sleep

Supporting your immune system can be done through medication, a healthy diet, and supplementation, but rest and sleep is another great way to support your body and your mind to maintain a healthy response. When we get busy or stressed, rest and sleep are often the first things we neglect, but they are actually the most important to maintaining our health. Resting, being able to unwind, reconnect, and relax, is very important, as your body and mind need a break.

Sleep is very important for health and your immune response, as it's how your body works to recharge and heal after your daily activities. The best way to take time to rest and sleep is to establish good routines and habits, including morning and evening routine, as this will help you make sure you start and end your day with your health and rest in mind.

7. Practice Good Personal Hygiene

The last tip for staying healthy as an immunocompromised person is to practice good personal hygiene. These simple techniques like washing your hands often, avoiding touching your face in public, and keeping surfaces clear and clean in your home, will reduce the amount of work your body needs to do to fight off potential pathogens.

Personal hygiene like hand washing and avoiding people, especially during cold and flu season, can make a big difference in your ability to stay healthy throughout the year. Using hand sanitizer and social distancing as well as mask wearing if needed are also good ways to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.

By applying these seven tips for staying healthy as an immunocompromised person to your daily life, you will support not only your immune system, but also your whole body and mind. Working on incorporating these tips into your daily routines offer you time in each day to support your whole self, which allows you to continue to support your immune system and stay healthy.

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie QM-710.

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Date: 9/22/2020 12:00:00 AM


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