Health Coach Erika Schlick Shares Her Tops Tips For Immunocompromised People To Stay Healthy
By Space Coast Daily // February 7, 2023
These past few years have been extremely challenging for people living with a compromised immune system.
This refers to those who may have a disease that has damaged their ability to fend off infection and disease, or are perhaps undergoing medical treatment that has made them more vulnerable.
But whatever the cause might be, immunocompromised people have experienced a pandemic that has been far more threatening, isolating, and altogether more terrifying for them than it has been for the general population.
Health coach Erika Schlick — who is immune-compromised since Lyme disease, co-infections, and mold decimated her immune system almost 10 years ago — said that her immediate instinct was to not be “panicked” about Covid-19. Instead, she worked to remain calm and take effective steps to ensure she remains safe and healthy.
As many immunocompromised people are still at risk of suffering severe symptoms from Covid — in addition to the usual risks that come with winter colds and bugs — Schlick shares her top tips for immunocompromised people to stay healthy in 2023.
Do not stress or panic
Panic is often our first response before our senses kick in. “Stress and panic are killers for the immune system and set us into flight or fight mode,” Schlick explains. “As a result, all of your bodily systems get worn down and make you susceptible to getting sick.” While it is easy for our fears about “what ifs” to get the better of us, keeping your emotions in check is just as important as the practical steps.
Schlick recommends that if you are more susceptible to this, incorporating stress release each day, like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or a long walk can help calm your mind. “If your adrenals are already stressed, make sure you are supporting your body to not stress your adrenals even more,” she continues. “Remember that you can only control your immediate environment and choices.”
Look after your gut
You may have heard some people refer to the gut as the “second brain,” so it goes without saying just how important it is to keep everything working in there. After all, your gut makes up 80% of your immune system, so “keeping it healthy keeps you healthy.” Schlick recommends a number of options, including probiotics, grass-fed collagen, gelatin, bone broth, and fermented foods if you can tolerate them.
It’s also important to know your own body and what does and doesn’t cooperate with you, like inflammatory foods that cause leaky gut like grains, gluten, and processed foods. This also goes hand in hand with eating healthily, whether you stick to a paleo diet, plant-based, or whatever works best for you.
Keep your environment clean
Being immunocompromised can leave you feeling out of control. So many aspects of daily life and the people we interact with we cannot determine. But something we can control is our immediate surroundings.
“Our environment is almost as important as what we are putting in our bodies,” Schlick says. “To ensure I’m not living in or exposed to mold, I use air filters and non-toxic cleaning products throughout my house.” This is in addition to keeping her “street shoes” outside her house, avoiding toxic fragrances, and using only filtered water.
Being immunocompromised can force us indoors more and strip us of the things we love most in life. But there are plenty of ways to stay active and get exercise into your daily routine, which will keep you healthy physically and mentally in the long-term.
“Getting some sort of exercise is so important to our health and vitality,” Schlick says. “Find a workout that you love and makes you feel good! Some days, I feel super strong and do Soul Cycle, Cold HIIT, or weight training. On other days when I feel more tired, I might do a chill yoga class or take a long walk with my dogs on the beach. It’s all about listening to your body and pushing yourself when you can, and taking it easy when you need to.”
Above all, Schlick says “moving your body” every day is the most important thing.
“Staying healthy when your immune system is compromised is a full-time job,” Schlick says. “But these tips are so effective that anyone could and should implement them to make themselves healthier and more resilient.”
Ultimately, she concludes, these tips are about helping to prevent you from becoming chronically ill, and “hopefully keep you healthy year-round, not just during cold and flu season”.
Find out more on Erika Schlick’s blog, The Trail To Health.