Winter is almost here; nights are longer, and people are trading their shorts and tank tops for tights and sweaters. Don’t forget that this season also means another thing; The cold and flu season has arrived. Before you know it, your holidays are almost spent at home, recuperating and drinking hot tea.
While it’s wise to stock up on medicines for the common cold and seasonal flu, it won’t hurt to look into how you can prevent getting sick in the first place. The first step? It’s strengthening your immune system for the winter season.
Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System This Winter
Your immune system serves as your body’s first line of defence against disease, making it essential to your general well-being. A strong immune system builds a wall around the body to prevent antigens and invaders from getting inside. Hence, you’re less prone to get sick if your immune system is in good shape.
The good news is, there are several preventive steps you can take to boost your immune system as the temperature plummets. Here are some ways you can do to boost your immune system and stay healthy during the coldest months of the year:
Get Your Annual Flu Vaccination
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world die from seasonal flu every year. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you pay close attention to when your annual flu vaccination is due. While the vaccine doesn’t guarantee zero infection, getting one reduces your risks for complications.
In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health made sure their people were getting their flu shots as they should. Over 574,000 jabs have been administered to senior citizens (out of 1.2 million people vaccinated,) which means 71% was over 65 years old.
Flu shots contribute to the spread of herd immunity. If enough people receive vaccinations, they can help protect those who cannot receive vaccinations, such as immunocompromised individuals or young children under six months.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to help strengthen your immune system but only if you do it correctly. Most people don’t know that viruses can thrive outside the body for some time, so you can still get sick from touching surfaces or shaking other people’s hands. So, if you don’t wash your hands the right way, the virus remains stuck at the back of your hands, between your fingers, or around your fingernails.
Knowing the right way to wash your hands can help prevent illnesses. Using soap and warm water is the most effective, and thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Drink A Lot Of Water
Water has two crucial functions in the body: It transports oxygen to your cells and washes toxins that cause infections and bacteria away from them. Water also helps you maintain a thin mucus in your respiratory tract. When you have a cold, your mucus production increases to fight the infection, and keeping your mucus thin allows it to be expelled from your body more quickly, either through a runny rose or coughing.
Keeping your body hydrated contributes to a stronger immune system. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to ensure this happens. If you can, try limiting your cigarette use and alcohol intake, as these can dehydrate the body.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Another effective way to strengthen your immune system is to eat a healthy and vitamin-filled diet. Eat more food loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C, which have immune-boosting properties to fend off illnesses. Stay away from processed or deep-fried food high in fat and sugar.
The best food options include colourful vegetables and fruits, superfoods like pomegranates and blueberries, healthy carbs, and whole grains. Opt for organic and clean food products, and use spices and herbs when cooking.
Get Enough Sleep
Quality sleep is non-negotiable if your goal is to strengthen your immune system for the winter season. Sleep is the way for your body to regenerate and recuperate. Enough rest and sleep can also help balance or regulate stress. In addition, not getting enough sleep can compromise your body’s ability to fight off infection.
Adults are recommended to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night for optimal body regeneration. Aim for good sleep hygiene, including keeping your electronic devices out of the bedroom and sticking to a regular sleep schedule.
As winter comes, it’s essential to recognise the importance of strengthening your immune system. In addition to the tips above, you can continue wearing masks outside to limit your exposure to sick people. No matter the season, it pays to take good care of your body so that you don’t quickly get sick or infected.