The Omicron wave is far from over in many parts of the country and as the variant continues to sweep across the U.S., taking preventive measures to avoid the virus is key to staying healthy. Although Omicron is highly contagious, there are ways to help prevent catching it. Eat This, Not That! Health talked with Dr. Janice Johnston, MD, Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder of Redirect Health who revealed five things that put us at greater risk for Omicron. Read on for all 5 things—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

1 Smoking

Dr. Johnston explains, “Being a smoker can make it more likely to catch COVID because they tend to make more contact with their hands to their face and mouth; one way the virus can be transferred into your system. Smoking also causes increased damage to your lungs, making you more susceptible to a severe case of COVID.”
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2 Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Dr. Johnston says, “Drinking excessively weakens your immune system and puts you at greater risk of a severe case of COVID, specifically for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the most serious complications of COVID. People also often gather in places like bars or nightclubs when drinking, which poses a higher risk of catching COVID if you are not properly socially distancing.”

3 Poor Eating Habits

According to Dr. Johnston, “It is important to maintain a healthy diet consisting of immune-boosting nutrients. This includes eating foods with vitamin C like oranges and other citrus, zinc like salmon or other fish, and green vegetables like broccoli or spinach. This keeps your immune system strong and more capable of fighting off the virus.”

4 Going to the Gym

“Getting exercise and staying healthy is important for your body and immune system, but going to a gym, especially indoors, can put you at a higher risk of catching COVID.” Dr. Johnston, states. “Indoor gyms may have poor ventilation, and there are many high-contact surfaces. When visiting the gym, it is important to continue to socially distance and wipe down surfaces before using them.”

5 Eating at a Restaurant Indoors

Dr. Johnston reminds us that, “Eating out indoors, particularly at a crowded restaurant, can pose a risk for catching COVID, especially for unvaccinated people. While eating you are unable to wear a mask, as with others in the restaurant. With COVID able to live up to 3 hours in the air, it can make it much easier to spread in a maskless environment like a restaurant. If you are eating out, it is best to get vaccinated, socially distance yourself, and eat outside if possible.”

6 How to Stay Safe Out There

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.


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