How Can I Strengthen My Immune System?
The possibility of catching a virus or bacterial infection exists year-round. Even outside of cold and flu season (October – May), you can still experience illness that keeps you from your normal routine. No one wants to feel unwell, and of course not every illness can be prevented, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to stay healthy. One of the best ways to keep from having to call in sick to school or work is to maintain a healthy immune system.
Things that hurt your immune system:
- Tobacco use
- Lack of regular sleep
- Alcohol use (heavy)
- Excessive antibiotic use (should only be used to treat bacterial infections)
- Social isolation
Things that help your immune system
- An exercise routine
- Time outside/sunlight
- A balanced diet (fruits/vegetables)
- Adding probiotics to your diet
- Supplements (with guidance from your physician)
Small changes that matter
Even small alterations to your routine, such as getting an extra hour of sleep, replacing a cup of coffee or juice with water, or spending 30 minutes outside every day, can make a big difference in how you feel and the strength of your immune system. Poor lifestyle habits like smoking, heavy drinking and regular antibiotic use are harmful to the immune system and can contribute to frequent/difficult-to-cure illnesses.
Improving your routine
For many, the most important step is to simply be aware of how your daily choices can impact your overall health. Washing your hands after visiting the bathroom or using public transportation is essential, but unfortunately not everyone (including adults) follows this rule. Cutting down on stress whenever possible is also very important, as prolonged stress is both mentally and physically draining. Water intake is something many of us take for granted, but you should be drinking enough water every day that your urine is a light-yellow color. Urine that is dark yellow means you are likely dehydrated.
If you find that you suffer from frequent colds/illness or that your illness is often difficult to cure, please contact Pacific Family Practice today. We are happy to discuss ways to improve your immune system and whether screening for underlying conditions is appropriate.