How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Posted: November 22, 2019 8:44:00 AM CST

Teddy bear with a tissue and thermometer.The most festive time of the year is just around the corner. Everywhere you go, you’ll hear sleigh bells ringing, see ugly sweaters, and, to most people’s dismay, be surrounded by the flu virus. Nothing ruins the holiday season like being under the weather. This is why keeping your immune system healthy is extremely important, especially with winter on its way. 

Whenever germs make their way into your body, the immune system is what makes sure you don’t get sick from it. But sometimes, it fails to keep these disease-causing microorganisms out. Your immune system was initially made up of what genes you received from you parents. However, as you grow up, it is mostly influenced by what you encounter in your environment (Brodin & Davis, 2016). Your immune system should be taken care of to keep you alive and well during flu season, so here are some steps you can take to keep it strong and in prime condition.

Get vaccinated - The best way to avoid getting the flu is to directly give your immune system the ability to fight it. Several places that offer flu shots will waive or discount the fee if you bring your insurance card.

Avoid infections - A good way to avoid the flu is to keep yourself clean as well as the environment around you. Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands, avoid contact with sick people, and disinfect items you use a lot.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables - Having a diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables will provide you with all sorts of nutrients that will keep your body functioning properly. Get that vitamin C!

Get enough sleep - Sleeping allows your body to reset and prepare itself for the next day so you can fight off any germs that come your way. A healthy sleeper gets around 8 hours of sleep per night.
 
Minimize stress - A stress hormone called corticosteroid is known to harm the immune system. To prevent this, take a break and de-stress with activities like meditation, socialization, working out, and listening to your favorite music.
 
Exercise regularly - Getting regular exercise is not only healthy in general, but it can also help in removing bacteria from your lungs and air passages. The wellness center is included in your student fees, so take advantage of it!

Don’t smoke - This may seem like a no-brainer, but smoking can have several harmful effects on the body. Cigarette smoke does a lot of damage to the body’s cells which must be constantly fought by the immune system.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation - While there is a common saying that a glass of red wine a day can improve your health, binge-drinking will have the opposite effect. If you go out drinking, try to limit yourself so your body stays happy.

If you do get sick, STAY AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE - If you have class when you are sick, don’t try to power through it. Doing so only puts others at risk for catching whatever you may have. Stay in bed and rest up.

Flu season can be rough, but it’s definitely possible to stay safe while the virus goes around. By following these steps, you’ll have a much better chance at enjoying the holiday season. 

References

Brodin, P., & Davis, M. M. (2016). Human immune system variation. Nature Reviews Immunology, 17(1), 21–29. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.125.

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). How to boost your immune system. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.

Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu. (2019, November 7). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm.

By: Health Education

Category: Health Education, General

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