Handwashing has become widley accepted as one of the most important steps in the fight against COVID-19. After all, a person touching a contaminated surface and subsequently touching their face is one of the easiest ways for the virus to spread.

Social distancing came next; and now, the Centers for Disease Control are recommending the general population to wear a face mask when out in public. All of these practices are important to limit the physical transmission of the novel coronavirus.

None of these measures are fool-proof. Even with public service announcements everywhere, it's still easy to find a shortcut through a 20-second scrub down. A nationwide shortage of N95 and surgical masks means the general populace is relegated to wearing improvised or homemade face masks, which are less effective than the N95 masks that filter out 95 percent of particulates.

This means that even if one plays by the rules, there is still a risk of coming into contact with the virus. That is when your body's natural line of defense comes into play, the immune system.

At this point in Indiana, COVID-19 has infected 12,097 people and resulted in the death of 630 of them. When looking at the demographics of those who have passed more than 69 percent have been over the age of 70.

Dr. Trent Austin runs AccuDoc Urgent Care with offices in Batesville, Greensburg and Harrison, Ohio and has seen dozens of patients come through his doors seeking treatment for COVID-19. His experience and research indicates to him the importance of having a young, healthy immune system.
The immune system of a young person is populated with a high number of young white blood cells. As those cells age, they become less effective. Austin recommends his patients practice intermittent fasting, which has been found in studies to have a number of benefits.

One can perform intermittent fasting in a wide variety of ways. One of the most common, and the method Austin uses himself, is to only eat food during a small window of time each day. Austin recently wrapped up an intermittent fast period for Lent where he fasted each day until dinner.

Studies have shown that during a time of fasting, the body's white blood cell count declines. When food is reintroduced, the body begins to rapidly replenish those lost white blood cells with new, healthier white blood cells. These fresh white blood cells help to rejuvenate an older immune system to make it work more effectively, like that of a younger person.

Another tool from the book of traditional wellness Austin recommends is hot cold therapy. The traditional sauna practice of Finland finds the participant first heating up the body in the sauna before plunging into a cold body of water. A Scottish Shower is an easier version that can be done at home by taking a normal hot shower followed by a cold water rinse for a couple of minutes.

Austin suggests the temperature cycles initiate a number of processes in the body, most relevant to the immune system is it stimulates the production of natural killer cells. These specialized cells are a vital part of the innate immune system which acts as a first line of defense against unknown pathogens in the body.

In addition to age, COVID-19 patients with underlying health conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes have also faced a higher mortality rate. Austin advises now is as good a time as any to work on improving one's overall health and getting these conditions under control.

If one does start to experience COVID-19 symptoms, Austin encourages seeking treatment early. Based on his experience, patients that receive treatment within the first five days see a much higher turnaround than those waiting until severe symptoms develop.