FALSE: DO NOT SHARE
Healthy food and exercise can build natural immunity to COVID-19.
False. Avoiding contact with carriers of the illness is the only way to prevent infection.
A Facebook post claims that you can build natural immunity through health eating and exercise, whilst presenting in a negative light government advice to socially distance in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus [SARS-CoV-2].
This is false, whilst behaviours such as exercise and healthy eating may be good for the body in other ways, people following these measures can still contract COVID-19. The immune system is complex and only partially understood, according to the Harvard Medical School, comprising an innate and adaptive response to pathogens. An overactive immune system can be a dangerous thing, causing autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
At the moment there is no scientifically-proven way to get immunity to COVID-19. According to the WHO there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection, but this needs further scientific research. “We do not know enough about the interaction between the current coronavirus and our immune system to definitely say if we would develop a protective immune memory response,” says Dr Jenna Macciochi speaking to Patient Info. No vaccine exists to give temporary adaptive immunity to COVID-19, but an international team of scientists is researching different potential vaccines.
According to the Harvard Medical School, whilst ‘boosting immunity’ makes little sense scientifically, you can follow these lifestyle tips to ensure that you have a healthy immune system and strong innate response to pathogens:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently.• Try to minimize stress.
WHO: Immunity passports in the context of COVID-19
Harvard Medical School: How to boost your immune system
Dr Jenna Macciochi in Patient Info: Coronavirus: how do we become immune to diseases like COVID-19?
BBC News: Can you catch Covid-19 twice?