Strengthening immunity through healthy lifestyle practices: Recommendations for lifestyle interventions in the management of COVID‐19
Although the practice of strengthening the immune system may not guarantee that people will not contract severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2), there is evidence that suggests that the likelihood and severity of many viral infections can be considerably reduced if appropriate measures are taken to increase the efficacy of the immune response to invading organisms. Evidence‐based public health measures to reduce viral spread include—personal isolation, physical distancing, wearing facial masks, frequent hand washing with soap and running water, not touching the face, vaccination, etc. However once infected, recovery relies on host immunity to eradicate the foreign invaders, with symptomatic management, which is the core management strategy in COVID‐19 management guidelines. Researchers have observed that severe COVID‐19 prevalence and mortality is highest in people with preexisting conditions. Eighty percent of these preexisting diseases are lifestyle related. Also, the science of strengthening the immune system by adopting appropriate lifestyle changes is still evolving, especially among the suspected and confirmed COVID‐19 cases. This article briefly highlights the immune response to viral infections including COVID‐19 and refers to evidence that healthy lifestyle practices, enshrined as core aspects of lifestyle medicine, can strengthen the immune response to infections. This may improve outcome in COVID‐19. We therefore recommend specific evidence‐based lifestyle intervention measures that should be considered in the management of COVID‐19.