A strong immune system is one of the keys to avoiding the cold and the flu. It’s also easier for you to recover from illness if you have a strong immune system. There are several things that you can support your family's immune system.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands will help prevent the spread of many illnesses. The rules are simple: use soap and warm water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. You should also make sure that everyone washes their hands after using the bathroom, before handling food, blowing their nose, coughing in their hand or being around someone who is sick.
Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
A healthy diet can strengthen your immune system. Breastfed babies get the ultimate protection from illness, as mama’s milk contains antibodies toward viruses she’s exposed to. Keeping baby nearby and nursing frequently is a great way to protect them.
Smoking wreaks havoc on our health in general, including the immune system. Researchers have found that mice exposed to secondhand smoke from as little as 2 cigarettes per day have poorer responses to the flu virus. If you smoke, kick the habit - your whole family benefits.
Stress is also linked to a weakened immune system. Self care can help. Taking walks, laughing, meditation and doing yoga are some of the ways that everyone can lower their stress.
Are you getting enough sleep? The body repairs itself while you are sleeping. A good night's rest can also boost the immune system. The amount of sleep you need depends on age, gender, and a few other factors. Here are some general guidelines to follow.
4 to 12 months-14 to 15 hours
1 to 3 years-old 12 to 15 hours
3 to 6 years-old 10 to 12 hours
7 to 12 years-old 10 to 11 hours
Teenagers 9 to 10 hours
Adults 7 to 9 hours
A good exercise program can boost your immune system in a number of ways. Exercise can increase the number of white blood cells in your body. The short rise in body temperature during exercise can also prevent harmful bacteria from thriving.
Loneliness can be just as bad for your health as smoking. Studies have shown that people who are lonely have a harder time fighting off infections. That is why it is important to avoid isolation - spend time with family members and friends (as long as they’re not sick, of course!)
A strong immune system makes your body more capable of fighting off illness. These healthy lifestyle habits are also just plain good for your overall well-being, too.