Flu season is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time to brush up on the fundamentals of preventing the spread of illnesses—think frequent handwashing, covering your cough, and masking up in crowded public spaces. During flu season, your immune system is working hard to fight off seasonal illnesses like the flu, the common cold, and the next COVID variant. To give your immune system some added support, implement the following habits that will keep your body functioning well.
Remember, your immune system is not a single entity—it’s a system of many bodily functions, so there are many factors that influence how well it’s working.
Optimize your sleep
Sleep is restorative for your body. Unfortunately, many of us just don’t get enough of it. In addition to striving to get your full eight hours of sleep, take some steps to make the most of those eight hours. Use guided meditation apps to help you shut down your brain and drift off into a deep sleep. Keep your bedroom clean and comfortable—wash your sheets weekly, keep the room at a cool temperature to encourage better sleep, and reduce clutter in your space.
Eat healthy foods
To function properly, your immune system needs the right fuel. During the fall season, schedules fill up quickly with kids being back in school, workplaces tending to get busier, and holidays being just around the corner. However, it’s still important to take the time to prepare healthy meals and avoid processed foods. Even if you cannot prepare every meal from fresh ingredients, be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein sources where you can. Fresh fruit and vegetable sticks make great snacks on the go!
For a strong immune system boost, emphasize foods that are rich in vitamin C, probiotics, vitamin D, fiber, and antioxidants. These include citrus fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, yogurt, pickles, mushrooms, berries, and beans.
Get more physical activity
Being physically active helps keep your respiratory system in good shape, which can help you stave off respiratory infections like the flu. Exercise is also a contributing factor for managing your weight, and maintaining a healthy BMI can help keep your immune system functioning at full capacity.
Avoid holiday vices
The fall season means that holidays are right around the corner, which might mean more alcohol, sweet treats, and other vices. However, it’s important to keep these habits in check. Alcohol in particular can significantly dampen the immune response. Plus, sweet seasonal treats—like pumpkin spice lattes—can pack in tons of excess calories and make it harder to control your weight.
Consider adding supplements to your routine
Getting nutrients directly from your diet is ideal, but sometimes it can be hard to get enough of certain nutrients that support the immune system. Consider adding supplements like a daily multivitamin to your routine but consult a doctor before you make this change. Getting too much of a certain vitamin or nutrient can be just as bad as not getting enough of it.
Get a flu shot
Vaccines are your best line of protection from seasonal illnesses, so you should get a flu shot every year to help your immune system prepare for flu season. You may also benefit from a COVID booster, pneumococcal vaccine, or shingles vaccine, depending on your age and current health status.
A quick visit to the doctor can help you prepare for cold and flu season and bolster your immune system to reduce your chances of getting sick. With Walmart Health Virtual Care, you can consult a medical provider anytime, anywhere, so you don’t have to let your busy schedule get in the way of your health and wellness.