Exercising your immunity and wearing a mask may help reduce your risk of infection and complications from COVID-19.
Recent research reveals that people who have received vaccinations for other diseases seem to be less affected by the virus. The same goes for those who wear masks. Even if they catch the virus, their symptoms appear to be milder.
According to CNN, these factors may account for the reasons some individuals get sicker than others. Dr. Andrew Badley, a professor of infectious disease at the Mayo Clinic, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Monday that people who had a variety of vaccines, such as influenza, pneumococcus and others, appeared to have a lower risk of getting COVID-19.
It’s called immune training, he said: “A good analogy is to think of your immune system as a muscle. The more you exercise the muscle, the stronger it will become if you need it.”
In June, a team of U.S. researchers proposed that giving people a booster of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine may help prevent COVID-19 and perhaps reduce the severity of the disease. The MMR vaccine has been shown to boost immunity beyond the three diseases it targets. Researchers said it may boost overall immunity and train the body to identify and fight off viruses.
The researchers, including Paul Fidel of Louisiana State University and Mairi Noverr of Tulane University, said that a clinical trial using the MMR vaccine in high-risk populations, especially healthcare workers, is a win-win situation.
“There’s no serious risk in giving the vaccine to most people and the approach might be especially effective for protecting healthcare workers,” they said. “If we’re wrong, well, at least people will have new antibodies to measles, mumps and rubella.”
And recently researchers found that in countries where the tuberculosis vaccine was given, there were fewer mortalities from COVID-19, according to CNN.
Wearing masks can also reduce your risk of illness. Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco, said that one reason 40% of the people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms is that wearing a mask protects you from receiving a high viral load. “The less virus you get in, the less sick you’re likely to be,” said the expert.
Gandhi told NPR that countries that adopted universal mask-wearing, even though they may be seeing more cases, have had “much, much fewer deaths or severe illness.”
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