Immune-Boosting Tips to Stay Well This Winter

by Vaccinate Your Family

This post was originally published with MediaPlanet in the Winter Wellness Issue, and was written by Vaccinate Your Family. 

Are you more likely to get sick during the winter? Yep – more viruses are circulating this time of year. Give your immune system a boost.

With the winter months comes flu season, and in recent years COVID-19 has also surged during the wintertime. This year is looking particularly severe — flu hospitalizations are the highest they’ve been at this point in the season in the last 10 years. The good news is, there are some immune-boosting things you can do right now to help keep your family healthy through cold and flu season.

If you only do one thing, get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19, and stay up to date on routine immunizations. Recommended vaccines will give your immune system the best protection against circulating viruses.

Give your body a boost by following as many of these immune-boosting tips as you can:

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

This probably won’t come as a surprise — fruits and vegetables are good for your health. While there isn’t one cure-all “superfood” to make you an immune superhuman, fruits and vegetables do provide nutrients (including beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E) that can boost immune system function.

Don’t smoke

Did you know that smoking can harm your immune system? This makes it harder for your body to fight off infection if you catch a virus or bacterial illness. People who smoke are also at higher risk for some immune and autoimmune diseases.

Exercise regularly

Scientists have found compelling links between regular exercise and the health of your immune system. While we still have a lot to learn about exactly how exercise might boost your immune system, it is clear that it promotes overall health, is very good for your heart, and can make you feel more energetic.

It is recommended that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year.If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet this year, it’s not too late. Make sure you’re up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination, too — including getting an updated bivalent booster.

We have more evidence regarding how vaccines help your immune system fight off infection than for any other tip on this list. Vaccines boost your immune system by stimulating the production of immune cells called antibodies. When and if you come into contact with a virus or bacterium that you have been vaccinated against, your body has the information it needs to defend against this known invader. There’s data that show that for some illnesses, including COVID-19, the immunity from the vaccine is as strong or stronger than the natural immunity of having been infected, without the risk that comes with getting sick.

A well-rounded approach to staying healthy will give your body its best chance at fighting off viruses and bacteria. While getting sick is not always preventable, adopting these immune-boosting wellness habits can help you enjoy a safe and healthy winter season with your loved ones.

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