By Chrissy Miller, Employee Health Manager, Maui Health

Even though it seems like we’ve been fighting this pandemic forever, COVID-19 is a new disease. This means that even the healthiest immune system will have no existing antibodies to fight off an infection. Because of this, getting vaccinated is still the most effective way to protect yourself and your ‘ohana and provides the most protection against this dangerous virus.

However, a strong immune system can help you avoid regular colds or bacterial infections. Plus, our bodies need to be as strong as possible should we ever contract COVID. Here are some things you can do to support a healthy immune system:

  • If you smoke, take steps to quit… today! Keep secondhand smoke far away from your keiki!
  • Stay physically active, with at least 30 minutes of movement, 5 days a week. Get kids out of the house on the weekends – go for a walk or a nice swim. 
  • Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, on average. Kids could need even more, depending on their age.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get those natural vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
  • Take steps to lose excess weight and set a good example for your children.
  • If you consume alcohol, drink in moderation. Again, remember your kids are watching your daily habits – the good and the not so good.
  • Learn healthy ways to manage stress, such as mindfulness, meditation, or talking to a friend. Start teaching these skills at a young age to set kids up for success. 
  • Practice good hygiene at home and at work. This includes washing your hands frequently and keeping surfaces clean.
  • In the kitchen, make sure meats are cooked properly, and clean cutting boards and cooking utensils well.
  • Stay up-to-date on all your regular vaccines, including the flu vaccine.

And lastly, whether you are vaccinated or not, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and help slow the spread of COVID is to follow infection prevention guidance, be diligent in your everyday actions, and teach these practices to your children. We know it is hard to turn down family get-togethers, but it is critical to avoid the after-holiday spikes we’ve seen during this pandemic, and the only way to flatten this curve. Please do your part and support our healthcare and other frontline heroes on Maui!