As temperatures remain low in what feels like the longest winter ever, it’s useful to take measures to boost your immune system and avoid becoming unwell. There are some quick and easy things you can make sure you’re doing to keep your immune system working well and avoid catching a nasty virus or bug.
Dr Eleanor Atkins from Bupa UK shares her top tips on staying well this winter.
1 Eat Well
The vitamins and minerals in our diet help us all to function properly. Vitamins A and D are both proven to have a positive impact on your immune system, which can stop you from catching winter viruses and colds. Including foods like oily fish, carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes and eggs in your diet will help you to get your dose of the vitamins you need to keep you fighting fit.
2 Stay Active
It can be difficult to stay motivated to work out when it’s cold and dreary outside, but dragging yourself out has endless benefits. While there isn’t sufficient evidence to show the impact exercising has on your immune system, it does help reduce your risk of more serious illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Exercise is also proven to help boost your self-esteem, quality of sleep and mood. So it can help you stay mentally well in the more miserable months of the year.
Try indoor activities like aerobics classes, yoga and pilates or swimming for winter-friendly ways of staying fit and active.
3 Get A Flu Jab
A flu jab is a really easy way to help avoid catching the flu this winter. At its most effective, a flu jab can reduce the risk of flu-related illnesses in up to six in 10 people. It’s recently been reported that the vaccination hasn’t been as effective on strains of flu such as Australian flu and Japanese flu, but it’s still worth receiving the jab because it does offer protection.
It’s usually recommended you receive a flu jab in autumn so you’re protected for most of winter, but you can still pay to receive one privately later on in the year.
4 Keep Your Hands Clean
While it may seem like common sense, washing your hands is arguably the most effective way to protect yourself from catching an illness, or spreading it to others. Do you know if you’re washing your hands correctly? Here’s a short guide to make sure you’re doing all the right things.
5 Make Sure You Get Plenty Of Sleep
If you’re not well rested, your health can be affected in a variety of different ways. Not getting enough sleep can affect your immune system. Studies have shown that people getting low quality or not enough sleep are more susceptible to catching a virus, like a cold. Your body requires sleep to release the proteins your body needs to fight infections and illnesses.