With cold and flu season officially upon us, we know you’re trying to avoid germs as much as possible. We all know that dreaded feeling of knowing a cold is coming on, as the throat starts to get a little scratchy, the joints a bit achy, and the nose a little stuffy. Thankfully, there are things you can do immediately to prevent the cold from taking hold on your body! Here are 5 things to do to boost your immune system as soon as you feel that you might be starting to get sick.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate.
Hydrating with the proper amount of fluids helps to flush the virus and toxins out of your system. Nothing beats plain old water with electrolytes for optimum hydration, but you can also drink these immune boosting drinks to give your body the nutrients it needs to strengthen your immune system. Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics and will make you more dehydrated.
Get smart with your supplements.
Research has shown that getting adequate amounts of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D can help strengthen your immune system and ward off infection. Other natural immune boosters include echinacea and ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory that fights nausea, and is known for its antimicrobial properties.
Use salt water to your benefit.
A few times a day, spray some nasal saline solution into your nose. Saline solution keeps the membranes of your nasal passage moist, which makes it harder for germs to take hold. It also helps clear out excess mucus, preventing you from becoming more congested. If you are developing a sore throat, you should also gargle with warm salt water a few times a day. Warm salt water helps to thwart a sore throat before it gets worse, and helps to alleviate some discomfort. When you gargle with warm salt water, it helps draw excess fluid out from the inflamed tissue, resulting in less pain and inflammation.
Load up on immune boosting foods.
It’s not just an old wives tale; chicken noodle soup actually does boost your immune system! You can even use bone broth in your soup, which replenishes sodium, and has been shown to reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improve digestion. Amino acids in the collagen found in bone broth also help heal and strengthen the GI tract.
Citrus, broccoli, and red bell pepper are exceptionally high in Vitamin C, making them perfect immune strengthening foods. Garlic is another potent immune booster, due to its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. When feeling under the weather, load up on antioxidant rich fruits and veggies such as blueberries, pomegranates, and dark leafy greens. Nuts and seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which helps your body fight off infection.
Get your zzzzzs.
You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: getting enough sleep is incredibly important for both preventing and fighting off illness. Aim for 8 hours each night. Lack of sleep really does raise your risk of getting sick; as your level of T-cells decreases the more sleep deprived you become, and your inflammatory cytokines increase. Getting the right amount of rest strengthens your body so it is the most equipped at fighting infection.
If you do happen to get sick, we’re here to help! You can consult with one of our doctors at absolutely any time, just by clicking here. Our doctors will be able to give you more top notch medical advice on what you can do to recover as fast as possible.
Author: Maggie Harriman