How to Get Your Immune System Ready for the Cold and Flu Season
As summer ends, you get the kids ready for school, you start thinking about your holiday plans, but one area you might not consider is your health. Cold and flu season are approaching. Is your immune system ready? While you can’t always avoid getting sick, taking a few precautions now will give you the best chances of staying healthy. Even if you do get sick, boosting your immune system can help you get well faster.
Get a Flu Shot
Everyone in your household over the age of six months old should get a flu shot as soon as possible after they become available. Even if you had a flu shot last year, you need another shot this year. The formula for the flu shot vaccine changes each year based on the evaluations of the United States Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations. The formula contains vaccinations against the three strains that are projected to be most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season.
Practice Good Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene to protect against colds and flu means washing your hands frequently throughout the day, and especially before eating or after using the toilet. Wipe down surfaces that can transmit germs, such as telephone receivers, light switches, counter tops or desk surfaces, all of which can be a hotbed for flu-causing germs. Washing your hands with soap and water is best, but if none is available, using an alcohol based hand sanitizer will do.
Stress can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to getting sick. Of course, it’s impossible to totally avoid stress, but try to minimize your exposure to stressful situations if possible. Take a break from a task if you feel frustrated. . Include short pauses during the day to stretch your legs or have a cup of non caffeinated tea. Simply sitting back and closing your eyes for a few minutes can also relieve stress.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Taking mega doses of Vitamin C isn’t necessary, but an extra tall glass of orange juice in the morning won’t hurt. Maintain a balanced diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk food. Besides being loaded with calories, junk food provides little nutrition. Go easy on the sweets also; they can depress your immune system. On the other hand, a bit of chicken soup is good for more than the soul. It can help prevent you from getting sick, or can help you get well faster if you do get sick.
Get Enough Sleep
You mother was right. Letting yourself get run down leaves you more vulnerable to catching a cold or coming down with the flu. On the other hand, sleep seems to boost your immune system, although doctors and scientists aren’t entirely sure why. Try to maintain regular a regular bedtime, and get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you feel cold coming on, do yourself a favor and turn in an hour early that night. You might just be able to avoid getting sick altogether.