I hope you’re all well and in the best state of health, insha’Allah!
As we’re all going through a global pandemic, which has lasted almost one year with cases continuing to rise, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss some preventative measures that we can incorporate to help protect ourselves and our loved ones.
The coronavirus seems to considerably affect the respiratory system, mainly the lungs, and the immune system. Aside from following the guidelines of your national health authorities (for the UK, please see the government guidelines at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus), it is imperative that we strengthen our immune system and lungs.
The immune system
The immune system is a complex, multi-layered defence system that protects our body from sickness and disease. It is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals. If the system is weakened, the body becomes susceptible to any virus or bacteria that can take hold, causing infections and illnesses.
The respiratory system
The respiratory system is composed of the lungs and a series of passageways leading into and out of the lungs. It’s responsible for gas exchange, so that oxygen can be supplied to and carbon dioxide can be removed from the body’s cells. Inflammation in the lungs stops the body getting enough oxygen it needs to survive, leading to symptoms such as difficulty breathing.
So, how can we strengthen our immune system and lungs?
All tissues involved in breathing are dependent on pure water. Without adequate water, breathing will become laboured. Dehydration causes your body to produce a hormone to retain water, however in excess, this hormone will irritate the membranes of your lungs and will damage your immune system. Hence, ensure that you are drinking enough water on a daily basis.
The best way to strengthen your lungs is through exercise. You should try to engage in some form of aerobic exercise – this can be anything that gets you breathing heavily for about 15-20 minutes. For example, brisk walking. Get out in nature as much as you can. Breathe in the morning air as deeply as you can. This will help build up your immune system, as well as your lungs.
Even a small disturbance of sleep produces a reduction in the amount of antibodies. Ensure you are getting adequate amounts of good-quality sleep to give your body the time it needs to rest, repair and strengthen your body’s immune response. Adults require at least 7 hours of sleep a day.
‘People who are happy at home and at work, usually enjoy a robust immune system.’
Emotional and physical stress can lead to a run-down of the body’s defences. Negative emotions, such as worry, anxiety, hurt, anger, can all contribute to a weakened immune system. Therefore, some form of stress management should be practiced regularly, such as yoga or meditation.
A happy heart is one of the markers of good immunity and good health. Cure your heart from negative emotions through gratefulness, optimism and generosity. The average lifespan of early muslims was much longer than what it is now because they had hearts that were happy and grateful.
Diet can play a fundamental role in the functioning of the immune system. If your diet is poor, this can compromise your immune system and make you more susceptible to illnesses. Therefore, improving your diet can boost your immune system. (Stay tuned for our next post on immune boosting foods!)
Just remember that this is not a time for panic or anxiety. This is a time to reflect and to recognise that our situations remain completely in the control of our Lord. So put your trust in Allah, and He will provide for you as He provides for the birds; they go out with empty stomachs and return home with full stomachs.
Last but not least, let us not forget the power of heartfelt supplication to Allah Most High. None can lift the tribulation save the one who sent it. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Supplication is the very essence of worship’, and true reliance upon Allah is only realised when we take the reasonable means in the material world and conjoin it to our spiritual state.