Had to share this oh-so- a propos discussion from Dr. Jamie, giving us tips on how to stay well during cold season and every season. Practical and easy to apply, you’ll enjoy these smart steps to help you protect yourself and those you love!
How to support your immune system
Here are a few simple steps you can do to support your immune system:
- Stop touching your face: Studies suggest that people touch their face around 3-4 times every hour. While that may not sound like that often, you touch your face far more than you wash your hands. The key here is that each time you touch your mouth or nose you are risking transferring bacteria and viruses from contaminated surfaces to your body. This “self-inoculation” is the primary way colds and flu spread through a population. (You can also contract a cold or flu when someone coughs or sneezes and you breathe it in.) Scientists who study the spread of disease suggest that learning to avoid touching your face may be the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of getting the cold or flu.
- Wash your hands often: Even if you train yourself to avoid touching your face, you still need to wash your hands often. Every surface your hands come in contact with has the potential to be contaminated with bacteria and viruses. Washing with warm soapy water, scrubbing for at least a minute is a good habit to practice throughout the year (and not just during cold and flu season).
- Exercise: The key to understanding the benefits of exercise for our immune systems is that it all depends on how much you exercise. Moderate exercise does appear to boost immunity and inactive people do seem to get more colds than active people, but extreme exercise (especially in elite athletes training for competition) does the opposite. If you have a moderate exercise program, continue that throughout the year to get the most benefits from exercise. If you don’t currently exercise, start slow and build up to a regular routine.
- Sleep: The importance of good sleep to your health can’t be underestimated. While not many studies look at sleep quality and the immune system, a small study of healthy young men reported a drop in the number and function of white blood cells (neutrophils) with just one night’s poor sleep.
- Diet: Your immune system relies on you to nourish your body well in order to have the basic building blocks for its many functions. The general recommendation for a healthy immune system is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid excessive alcohol intake, and eat a low-fat, low-sugar diet.
What is your best way to support your immune system? Use the comment section below to share with us.