Is your body ready for flu season?

Sept. 20, 2019 / By Kimberly Lodge, RHIT, CCS

As flu season approaches, I have been looking for steps I can take to help build my immune system. Some of the advice I found is common sense, but many of the tips were new to me. According to WebMD and Medical News Today, here are a few things we should do routinely in order to avoid contracting the flu:

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Get enough sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep your stress hormones levels could rise. It is recommended that adults sleep 7-9 hours each night.
  • Exercise daily. This will help boost your body’s feel-good chemicals and promotes sleep
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Decrease sugar consumption. Too much sugar can be hard on your immune system cells
  • As always, eating fruits and vegetables is recommended. Colorful fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, oranges, red bell pepper, and broccoli are full of antioxidants Another food that can help is fresh garlic which helps fight viruses and bacteria. Also, dark chocolate, turmeric, oily fish, ginger, green tea, sunflower seeds, almonds….and studies are showing that chicken soup can actually help you get well faster.
  • Decrease your stress. Elevated stress hormones can suppress your immune system. You might want to try to meditate, exercise, or just slow down.
  • According to studies, social interaction through friendships can help your immune system. Strong social networks have a positive effect on your health.
  • Decrease alcohol consumption, as too much could weaken your immune system.
  • Do not smoke and/or stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and try not to dwell on the bad stuff.
  • Laugh! Laughing has been shown to boost white blood cells to fight infection.
  • Get vaccinated. Vaccinations will help you develop a stronger protection against illness.

Following the good habits above can help you maintain a healthy immune system and keep it strong during flu season.

Kimberly Lodge is a coding analyst for 3M Health Information Systems.