Balanced diet, exercise crucial in keeping COVID-19 at bay

Children are least affected by COVID-19 but we should still adhere to recommended precautions with children, said Dr. Mohamed Elsayed Ahmed Eldessouki, Professor of Chest and Pulmonologist at Doha Clinic Hospital.  

“Children represent one of the most precious things we have as human beings, and everyone is concerned about them because of this epidemic that spread worldwide. I want to clarify the concept through the Chinese Study, which was published last month after a study of 72,314 cases. The results were as follows; the incidence of the disease is less than 1 percent in the age group 0-9 years,” said Dr Eldessouki.  

The rate of illness at age 9 to 18 is one to two out of 10. The good news in this matter is that the death rate was only one case out of about 3,000 cases. This indicates the strength of the immune system in children and which the doctors and scientists tried to find an explanation for this. 

He said that the real reason for this is unknown, but three answers can reassure everyone. The first reason is that children are exposed from a young age to many viruses which stimulate their immune system to produce antibodies against any other virus and deal with the coronavirus in this case. 

The second reason is that the immunity of children has more flexibility and effectiveness than adults and can deal with this virus in a better way. The third reason is that the children’s lungs are still intact in terms of tissue and function because they are not yet exposed to active or passive smoking. 

“Although children are least affected by this disease, we should still adhere to the stipulated precautions with children. We are assured that they can handle the virus more effectively than an adult as proven by the statistics and studies conducted,” he said. “The second point is how we stimulate the immune system in adults and children,”  he added. 

According to recommendations of Harvard Medical School, which is one of the most well-known universities in the world, following steps should be followed for a stronger immune system. First practising a balanced diet by increasing consumption of nutritious food like vegetables and fruits. Second is achieving the ideal weight since obesity affects the immune system, and this is proven in various medical researches held. Obesity leads to a type of chronic inflammation inside the body, which harms the immune system, so make sure to attain an ideal weight. 

The third is point is exercise. It helps to maintain an ideal weight as well as enhance blood circulation in the body. “Exercise also strengthens our immune system and thus helps us deal with viruses and many other ailments. Taking proper restful sleep also helps to improve the immune system. It was found that people who suffer from sleep disturbance or interrupted sleep which affects the immune systems are more likely to catch a cold & flu,” he added.

The fifth point is completely abstaining from smoking in all cases. Whether it is active smoking or social smoking, it adversely affects our immunity and lungs, which makes us prone to infections from virus and bacteria. “We must also avoid stress or panicking as this results in general weakness in immunity in the heart, stomach and lungs. So, make sure you avoid stress to strengthen the immune system that is defending you,” he said.

“Finally, we must follow good sanitary habits for preventing the infection such as washing hands cleaning often, keep your environment clean and avoiding contagious diseases by wearing masks when you are ill or sick. Together we will defeat the virus if we follow all these instructions,” he added.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar