How to Manage Your Lifestyle with Immune Deficiency
An immune deficiency diagnosis can hurl you into a world of uncertainty. How will it change your lifestyle? What does this mean for your future? Although having an immune deficiency does put you at a higher risk of infection and makes it difficult for your body to fight off infections, it is still possible to live a relatively normal lifestyle with a few preventative measures and proper medical care. Follow the advice below, and you can manage your lifestyle while living with an immune deficiency.
Mind Your Hygiene
Preventing infection is a priority for anyone living with an immune deficiency. Wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer to avoid introducing germs into your system. Take proper care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing, and schedule routine visits to the dentist to prevent infections caused by tooth decay. Be conscious of how you prepare your food by keeping your utensils and workspace clean and sanitized.
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Be Cautious in Crowds
You don’t need to isolate yourself to avoid infection, but you do need to take extra caution around other people. Avoid making close contact with people who have infections and consider avoiding crowded public areas during flu season or reported outbreaks.
Diet and Exercise
As important as it is for anyone to watch their diet and exercise, it is even more important for those living with an immune deficiency. Eat healthy and nutritious meals and take multivitamins to ensure you nourish your body. Avoid eating raw or undercooked food as much as possible as they may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Exercise can help you stay fit, healthy, and strong and can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Low-impact workouts like walking, cycling, or yoga can help you stay fit without over-extending your muscles.
Diet and exercise needs can vary from person to person, so seek recommendations from your doctor or nutritionist.
Doctor Visits and Medications
Part of living with an immune deficiency is ensuring you are receiving the proper medical care from your doctor and healthcare providers. They are there to guide you and give you the care you need to manage your condition. Be open and communicative. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share your concerns with your doctor. Attend your scheduled doctor visits and take all necessary medications and treatments as prescribed. Keep a health diary to track your progress and share your findings with your healthcare providers so they can adjust your treatment as needed.
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Immune deficiencies are uncommon, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Bearing the weight of your disease on your own can take a toll on your mental health and stability. Find a support group of patients or former patients that you can lean on for coping strategies and helpful advice. Sharing your experiences with those you can relate to can help bring you comfort and encouragement during your journey.
Living with an immune deficiency will require lifestyle changes, but you can still live a full, happy and productive life. Keep your goals in mind, such as avoiding or minimizing the severity of infections, seeking proper medical care, following advice from your doctor, and improving your general health through diet and exercise. Most importantly, do not let your condition prevent you from participating in activities like work, school, family, or socializing. Stay positive and choose to take an active role in your health and life.
Dr. Mina Azer, RPh. is the Director of Specialty Pharmacy at AmeriPharma. He attended University of Alexandria in Egypt. The most rewarding part of his job is helping others, especially when he gets to collaborate with his coworkers to achieve shared goals. Mina is a proud coffee enthusiast. He also enjoys keeping up with the latest tech gadgets.