Supporting Your Immune System 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist and other seasonal illnesses circulate through our community, there are several strategies that can help support your immune system and can help prevent COVID-19. As always, please check with your healthcare provider for specific advice, dosing and insight.

Container of blueberries

Eat a healthy, balanced diet
A healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods is vital for a strong immune system. The vitamins and minerals within your food play a large role in immune function. No single food or nutrient will prevent illness. Learn more about eaing a healthy diet.

Sleeping baby

Get enough sleep
Your body needs rest to recover from everyday stress and lack of high-quality sleep negatively affects the immune system. Try to establish a sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. Tips for better sleep.

Group of men cycling

Exercise regularly
Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight and contributes to a healthy immune system. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, or 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. Remember that some activity each day is much better than none. How much physical activity is needed for adults?

No Smoking sign

Limit alcohol and quit smoking and vaping
If you smoke or vape, find support by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you drink, do so in moderation. Tobacco, nicotine and alcohol all negatively impact your immune system and can contribute to complications if you do get sick.

Man doing yoga in his apartment

Find ways to minimize stress
Develop good coping mechanisms to combat stress. Try walking, going outside, meditating and focusing on doing things you enjoy.

Close-up of man washing hands

Wash your hands
Wash your hands frequently and especially before eating or touching your face.

Consider vitamin supplementation

Vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc, and other supplements such as probiotics can play important roles in supporting a healthy immune system. Adequate nutrition can supply the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, but some people may benefit from supplementation. For information on the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, please consult your healthcare provider.

More on Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be vital in keeping you strong and healthy. The health benefits of vitamin D:

  • Boosts your immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses
  • Promotes calcium absorption and bone health
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Assists nerve function throughout your body

Foods that naturally contain vitamin D:

  • Fatty fish – salmon, trout or tuna
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms

Other foods with added vitamin D:

  • Cow, soy, oat and almond milks
  • Many breakfast cereals, yogurt, margarine, orange juice and soy products

The body also makes Vitamin D when it is exposed directly to sunlight. However, sunlight is low in the PNW, and many people benefit from supplementation. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400–800 IU/day.

Vitamin D deficiency is common, check with your healthcare provider to see if you should add a vitamin D supplement to your daily routine.
Learn more about vitamin D and your health.

More on Zinc

Zinc plays and important role in immune system and metabolism function. The health benefits of zinc:

  • Boosts your immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses
  • Helps cells grow and multiply
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps wounds heal

Foods that naturally contain zinc:

  • Shellfish — oysters, crab, lobster
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Zinc is also available in supplement form. Excess zinc can interfere with the absorption of iron and copper. Check with your healthcare provider to see if you should add a zinc supplement to your daily routine.

Learn more about zinc and your health.

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Questions and information for COVID-19?  

Oregon Health Authority
 Respiratory Illness Prevention  

Find COVID-19 Vaccine Locations  

Clackamas County Vaccine questions?

Clackamas County Crisis and Support Line 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline