Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season: 5 Tips for Boosting Your Immune System
Now that winter is in full force you’ll want to take a few extra precautions to keep cold and flu season from getting the best of you. I mean, nothing says winter like a good old post-Holiday bout with the flu. Your immune system is your strongest ally against winter illnesses and if you don’t keep it fit and strong, you’re likely to go down in the battle.Here are 5 tips to boost your immune system for a fighting chance at staying healthy this winter.1. Don’t smoke.
If you smoke and need another reason to quit, know that cigarettes weaken your immune system. This means that cold and flu bugs can find an open door and do their damage much more easily. Smoking damages mouth and nose linings, both parts of the immune system.2. Get plenty of sleep.
The need for adequate sleep has been well documented. Without enough your body doesn’t have the strength to fight infections, including cold and flu viruses. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours each night so make sure you’re getting your quota.3. Temper your alcohol intake.
Too much alcohol on a regular basis can damage the linings of your mouth and esophagus, which means viruses and bacteria can find a weak point of entry into your body. If you’re a woman, limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day. If you’re male, you shouldn’t have more than two.4. De-stress.
Everyday pressures at work and home can really do a number on your body’s immune responses. Viruses are notorious for attacking an already-stressed individual – think of Herpes outbreaks. Exercise is a great stress reliever so make sure you’re getting your workouts in even in the cold winter months.5. If you’re depressed, seek treatment.
A depressed mental state can also depress the immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and flu, as well as putting you at risk for heart disease and insulin resistance. If you’re struggling with depression, help is available.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting annual flu shots though some experts believe they aren’t necessary and could do more harm than good. You may want to talk it over with your doctor, do your own research, and then make an informed decision as to whether you think a flu shot is best for you. Simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following the above five tips can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape this winter.