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How to Protect Ourselves From Viruses

This pandemic may have awakened the awareness towards virus in the public, but there are more types of virus than COVID, some are even cancerous, e.g. Hepatitis B could cause liver cancer, HPV could cause cancers of reproductive organs. It seems that there is always some kind of virus that infects each part of the body, but is there anything we can do to protect ourselves from it?

A virus is DNA or RNA strands that can only replicate inside living cells of any life forms. Once infected a cell, it would make use of the mechanism of the cells to make copies of itself and spread out. However, sometimes it remains dormant within a cell after the initial infection. It can either integrate into the DNA of the host cell, or float around inside the cell in a stable from. Not to be confused with incubation period, during which the pathogens are active, but symptoms have yet to develop. Viral latency refers to the period where the virus stops multiplying totally and stays in the host indefinitely until reactivated by external activators, e.g. inflammation, stress, sunlight, then it would cause acute infection symptoms.

Though it is next to impossible to completely get rid of a virus, there are still plenty of things we can do to stay healthy, because the virus would stay dormant as long as we avoid the activators. Following are a few examples that we think are easy to achieve:

1. Avoid processed food – processed food is usually high in added sugar and preservatives. The former promotes the formation of advanced glycation end products that trigger inflammatory response; while the latter adds physical stress to the body having to break them down.

2. Have adequate amount of exercise and sleep – just 20 minutes of physical activities every day can reduce inflammation by decreasing the amount of inflammation-inducing particles and also relieve mental stress in some individuals; a regular sleep pattern would allow the body cells to repair damage and reduce inflammation.

3. Allow ‘me time’ every day – squeeze out some time from your busy schedule for yourself, i.e. do something you genuinely enjoy instead of answering to others or work, may it be some form of exercise, art, or just rest. This does not only directly reduce mental stress, but also helps to improve sleep quality.

Viruses are notorious for causing all sorts of health problems including cancer. While they can stay dormant and evade immune system, until an external activator reactivates them, we can keep them in dormant state. Amongst many things that can be done to avoid their reactivation and make them stay dormant, we recommend avoiding processed food, having enough exercise and sleep, and having some ‘me time’ every day as a starting point. These can be done easily and can reduce inflammation and stress in the body, which are major virus reactivators. Do you have other ideas? Feel free to discuss with us.

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