Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and triple digit heat…Say hello to cool, crisp morning and evening air as Fall has arrived! Our favorite indications of Fall are here; everything pumpkin (pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie), Halloween, scare crows, corn mazes and just around the corner, Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, the wonderful, highly anticipated change of weather often brings with it the unwelcomed cold and flu season. Enjoy all the splendors of this Fall and boost your immune system to prevent unwanted colds and flus that make you feel under the weather.
The immune system is vitally important to overall health. It protects the body from disease and other potentially harmful foreign bodies. What can you do to boost your immune system this cold and flu season?
- Manage stress levels-Too much stress increases the hormone Cortisol. If Cortisol levels remain high for a long period of time, it can suppress the immune system. Try practicing yoga to relax at the end of the day or make some lifestyle changes to minimize stress.
- Get sufficient sleep-A good nights rest consisting of 7-8 hours of un-interrupted sleep is optimal. Sleep resets the immune system, increases t-cells and decreases inflammation-causing cells.
- Avoid smoking-Smoking and secondhand smoke interrupts proper function of the immune system and increases the probability of bronchitis, pneumonia and cancer in the lungs.
- Eat a well balanced diet-A diet that contains a wide variety of naturally occurring/minimally processed foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides the body with dense nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support and help rebuild the immune system and it’s cells.
- Get some sun-Sunlight prompts the skin to produce a natural form of vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D has been shown to increase the likelihood of contracting a respiratory infection. Sunlight is also a natural way to reduce stress and invigorate the body and soul.
- Get moving-Exercise increases blood flow, oxygen intake, and muscle endurance, all of which have an amazing impact on the amount of oxygen available in the body.. The more oxygen available to your cells improves the functionality and efficiency of cells that fight infection and bacteria.
- Eat garlic-Garlic is an amazing broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Garlic contains Allicin, which is a naturally occurring form of anti-biotic and is used in alternative medicine. Make sure you ingest the garlic raw for maximum benefit as heat reduces the effectiveness of key properties.
- Hydrate-Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to replenish the body and assist with the elimination of toxins. Water assists cells by providing much needed oxygen and helps the kidneys circulate fluid and remove contaminants. If caffeinated beverages are consumed, an equal portion of water should be consumed in addition to the recommended 8 glasses.
Many physicians recommend getting a yearly flu vaccine. If vaccinated, it does not mean that you will not come down with the flu, however; typically the symptoms and the duration of the flu would not be as severe. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By boosting your immune system in a few simple ways, your body will be well equipped to battle this year’s cold and flu season.
Does the world of medicine and healthcare interest you? It takes a wide range of healthcare professionals to keep people healthy and prevent illness. Arizona College offers allied health programs including Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy, Dental Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, Massage Therapy, Health Information Technician, and even a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Contact us for information about starting a new healthcare career today!