A Russian government advisory on refraining from alcohol consumption for 45 days after the first vaccine jab has left many people confused and contemplating whether or not alcohol can cause any ill impact on the vaccine response. However, there is no mention of alcohol in the printed material available along with the two vaccines approved in India; this certainly adds to the confusion. According to experts from the UK, Russia and the US, alcohol is said to suppress immune functioning and render a person incapable of developing adequate immunogenicity after receiving the vaccine dose. A research study on alcohol consumption and vaccination highlighted that that alcohol can cause inflammation in the gut and can alter the makeup of the microbiome, potentially damaging the microorganisms that maintain immune system health. Heavy alcohol use is also associated with a few other health problems, including an increased risk of Heart disease, cancer, and liver disease. All this and more indicate that it is best to maintain healthy habits before and after you get your vaccine shot.
Here is what you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve your chances of a better immune response to the vaccine:
1. Stay Away From Alcohol And Smoking
Consumption of alcohol, smoking or indulging in other unhealthy practices should be avoided to get the maximum benefit of the vaccine. People who have taken the vaccine shot must ensure a healthy lifestyle and avoid binge drinking around the time of the vaccination.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Another way to ensure your immune system is in perfect shape to make the most of the COVID shot is to get plenty of sleep. A study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, says that those who did not get more than five hours of sleep per night leading up to their flu shot made the vaccine only half as effective as those who had adequate sleep. The same will apply to the COVID shot too.
3. Exercise Regularly
Staying active and exercising is another way to make sure your body is healthy. Staying physically fit and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of chronic illness, which can make you more susceptible to any complications.
4. Eat Right, Eat Healthy
While no foods give you an immediate immunity boost, eating a healthy diet may help build a healthy immune system. Specific foods, particularly probiotics, can play an important role in keeping you healthy. Be sure to have a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, yogurt, and fermented foods to keep your body nourished.
COVID-19 vaccine shot is extremely important to fight this pandemic and improve immunity among people. Stay healthy and be wise. Do not let rumour mongering affect your decision making; call your doctor when in doubt.
About Author: Dr Farah Ingale is Director-Internal Medicine at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital.
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