Building Immunity for Cold and Flu Season
Navigating your health during the dreaded cold and flu season can be tricky – these helpful habits may protect you.
As temperatures begin to drop and co-workers, friends and family become ill, avoiding infectious colds and flus associated with the season can be difficult. However, a healthy immune system can help protect you from falling victim to relentless seasonal illness. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your immune system healthy and strong, so you can continue living your best life.
Flu Vaccine: The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. It is recommended that people begin getting vaccinated soon after it becomes available, ideally October, to ensure that they are protected. We understand that many people are uncertain about the use of vaccines, and as your partners in health, we are happy to address any questions or concerns that you may have.
Sleep: Research has shown that there is a direct link between sleep and the immune system. We cannot stress the importance of enough shut-eye – ideally 8 hours. According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, sleep deprivation depletes storage of a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell), making it harder for the body to fight off illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer. Be sure to get quality rest to avoid this.
Diet: A balanced diet is essential for optimized immune functionality. The immune system depends on a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to build antibodies, micronutrients like folic acid, vitamins A, C, E, B6 and minerals including copper, zinc, selenium and iron. According to the Canadian Health Food Association, these help the body identify invaders, break them down and dispose of them. It can be difficult for many to get all the nutrients necessary from diet alone which is why a multivitamin is highly recommended.
Exercise: There are copious benefits associated with working out regularly, and research suggests that exercise also protects the immune system. Exercise flushes out bacteria from your lungs, improves circulation and releases stress-reducing endorphins. Medline Plus also reveals that it increases the speed of circulating white blood cells, helping to fight off infection.
Lastly, do not forget to wash your hands regularly and keep your space sanitized. Viruses spread through tiny droplets that are released when in contact with an infected person and can live on objects for up to two days. By being extra cautious and disinfecting your surroundings, you can prevent the spread of germs and illness.
At Excel Health, we understand that life is busy and it’s not always as easy as it seems to maintain optimal health. Our trusted health experts are always here to support you in your efforts. Whether you require a health assessment to help you identify any nutritional deficiencies, are having problems with sleep or anxiety, or would like to get more information on flu shots, we will work closely with you to find the right solution for you.