QUESTION: What are some things that I can do to increase my immune system and prevent getting sick this winter?
ANSWER: As the cold season is upon us we tend to stay indoors more where we meet and mingle with our friends, family, and coworkers. We need to prepare our body and be smart about our daily interactions as we potentially will be introduced to more cold and flu germs. There are no scientific facts that these items will directly increase the strength of our immune system but healthy life choices will however improve your overall health. The following few tips will give your body a fighting chance to knock out anything you’ll be exposed to during cold and flu season and hopefully help you avoid being infected.
Exercise and Eat a Healthy Diet – Both improve your overall health and help keep your body over all stronger to fight off illnesses that you are exposed to.
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation and Don’t Smoke / Avoid Second Hand Smoke – These are pretty self explanatory, are they not?
Get Plenty of Sleep- Sleep rejuvenates your body and refreshes your mind. Lack of sleep can cause increased stress on your body. Always get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Food Safety– Don’t eat under- cooked meats and be wary of food buffets.
Carry Your Own Pen– Most germs are passed from hand to hand contact or from hand to object. Think of how many sick people touched the pen in the doctor’s office to sign in. Bring your own!
Limit Hand Shaking – Notice people who may be sneezing, coughing or have the sniffles, and be courteous to decline shaking others hands if you are or have been recently sick.
Use Your Elbow or Knuckles to Push Buttons at ATMs/Elevators– You are highly unlikely to touch your face or pick up food that will go into your mouth with these parts of your body.
Hand Washing and Overall Good Hygiene- This is probably your #1 defense!!! Always wash your hands, several times a day and before you eat!
Reduce Daily Stress– Find ways to laugh! Laughing helps increase positive emotions which decrease stress hormones and increase certain immune cells as noted in a study conducted at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
Vaccines– Flu and pneumonia vaccines, though not 100% fool proof to warding off the illness, will decrease your chances and or the severity of how bad your symptoms of the illness will be. See your doctor about what is best for you.
Danah Petit, ADC
Director of Recreation and Community Relations