3 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter

Let me ask you something, do you like to be sick? (Um, of course not!).

But as the kids are going back to school and winter is approaching, you might be starting to dread all of those nasty germs that they’re going to start to bring home with them.

Which is fair enough!

The cold will be here before you know it, but believe it or not–there are some very practical and simple steps you can take to keep your immune system strong when the snow starts falling.

That’s why today I’m sharing with you 3 Ways to Avoid Getting Sick This Winter.

This is especially relevant if you’re the one that gets sick all the time or has that frustrating experience where you get a bug, and then you just can’t seem to kick it while everyone else seems to get over it in a few days.

And it’s probably even more on your mind if you have asthma, allergies, COPD, diabetes, a smoking habit, a medication regimen that suppresses your immune system, or a young baby.

So what can you do to build up your immune system so that you don’t get sick this winter? Or if you do, so that you can be back on your feet quickly.

A little disclaimer here. There really isn’t a lot of fancy schmancy research on boosting your immune system, so we can’t be looking for that magic pill.  But I’ve got three really important tips for you because getting sick isn’t fun for anyone!

1. Consider getting the flu shot

You have probably heard a million things about vaccines and I know they’re not perfect and that they don’t prevent 100% of illnesses.

But the flu can be deadly even to the most healthy people, not to mention the young, the old, pregnant women and the immunocompromised.

And while you might feel a little tired, achy or fussy after getting the flu shot just like we expect for those little babies getting their vaccines, it’s a far better option than getting the actual flu and feeling like you got hit by a truck every day for 10-14 days! I see that is the experience for EVERYONE who gets it and it spreads like absolute wildfire.

So getting the flu shot is worth it. Period.

2. Feed your system with more of the ‘good ol fashioned’ stuff

There are no shortcuts when it comes to your health, so you’re going to need to give your system a boost with things like sleep, water, quality food, exercise, and relaxation.

Sleep - Sleep studies show that sleeping more increases the number of T-cells in your body. These are cells which fight infection which is pretty darn important, right? Just think of it as the little cleaning ladies of the body that come out at night to do a spring, or in this case winter, clean while you slumber!

Water - It can be SO easy to forget to drink enough water in winter when it’s cold. But when you are drinking plenty of water, you are helping the good stuff in your body circulate, and the bad stuff in your body be eliminated. Basic but true. So put a reminder in your phone, put a note somewhere, set your water bottle out the night before to help you remember.  

Fruits & vegetables - Now I know it’s old news for me to tell you to eat more brightly colored fruits and vegetables, but I’m going to say it anyway! Quality foods like these are anti-inflammatory so if you can increase the good stuff and ditch the inflammatory processed sugars and starches, you will be doing your body a HUGE favor.

Exercise - Similar to how water pumps around the good stuff, exercise gets the blood pumping which in turn helps to circulate those disease fighters and helps your body eliminate what it needs to. Again basic, but true.

Relax - I know it’s easier said than done sometimes (like all the time), but it’s a must. Stress inhibits the production of 'good' prostaglandins which support immune function, dilate blood vessels, inhibit 'thick' blood and are anti-inflammatory just to name a few actions. So while I understand that in life there are stressors that are out of our control sometimes, we have to find a way to put them in check. Start even with breathing exercises multiple times a day - trust me, every little bit adds up!

3. Give your immune system a break

It’s one of the hardest workers out there! It deserves a vacay every once in awhile, and it does not get it! Its job is basically to figure out and fight against anything “foreign” to the body which is a big task.  So if your immune system is distracted dealing with things like allergies, pollutants or smoke, then it’s not going to be able to get on top of every little other germ that you come across.

You can’t live in a bubble, but look to decrease your exposure to allergens. Avoid smoke as much as you can... your immune system doesn't need the extra work of clearing tar and toxins, not to mention the actual effects of smoke on how the immune system works. Other ways you can give your immune system a break are small things like washing your hands more often and staying away from those who are already sick. And then if you do get sick, stay at home without becoming a total hermit of course!

So now that you’ve got your armor ready to avoid getting sick, I truly wish you a healthy and happy winter season ahead!

Leave a comment below and let me know which ones you can start implementing now so we can keep you healthy this winter. Also, what tricks have you found that work well to keep the sun shining on your health during the dark winter days? Let us know any of Grandma’s ol secrets that we can try on.

Cheers To Your Day!

-Dr. Paige