Strengthening Your Immune System Before You Get Sick

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It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re sick, but a strong immune system can help you avoid getting sick or take the edge off your symptoms. Here are 5 simple things you can do to boost your immune system.

Eat Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Nutrients like zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, C, and E help support our immune systems, and are found in abundance in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Some fruits like berries have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties. Similarly, the thin white layer on citrus fruits contain flavonoids that can speed up your recovery when you’re sick. Eat them raw or lightly steamed.

Drink Water

One of the most important things you can do is drink water. Staying hydrated helps your body heal quickly and eases your symptoms while you’re sick.

You can drink it hot or cold and even suck on ice chips. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, try decaffeinated teas or enhance your water with lemon and honey. Limit sugar-loaded sports drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and coffee.

Get Enough Sleep

Your body needs time to heal every day. Good sleep cycles help the immune system work well, so it’s important to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Stay Up-To-Date on Your Immunizations

Every spring, experts study the strains of flu that are circulating in other parts of the world and the 3 or 4 most common strains are selected to create that year’s flu vaccine. The new version is usually available in late September or early October, so mark your calendar to get the flu vaccine every year.

The vaccine works by stimulating your body to produce antibodies that fight the predicted strains. While your body’s immune system is making the antibodies, you may feel a little under the weather, but symptoms are not nearly as bad as the alternative. You will have maximum protection about 2 weeks after getting your shot. This is by far the most effective way to avoid symptoms for yourself and protect those who cannot receive the vaccine.

Speak with a doctor to know which illness you are at risk of catching and which immunizations you should receive. In addition to the flu shot, you should think about getting Shingrix to protect against shingles, or Tdap for tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (whooping cough), or Pneumovax or Prevnar for pneumonia prevention.

Take Vitamin C or a Multivitamin

Most multivitamin products are manufactured to provide several vitamins in amounts that, if taken as directed, help assure you are getting the daily recommended total without reaching an amount that is “too much.” Medically, it is generally considered safe to take a daily multivitamin, though it is not essential for most healthy adults.

Not enough? If you do end up getting sick, Intermountain Connect Care is available 24/7/365 to help you take care of your family. Click here to learn more about Connect Care.