The number of times that you can get ill throughout the year depends mainly on how you manage to maintain your health and immunity through daily habits. The efficiency of the immune system against environmental pathogens can be improved by a series of simple methods that studies have shown to be very important for our well being.
In the cold season, the most important way of preventing respiratory infections is influenza vaccination. However, regardless of the season, there are many ways to protect our bodies against various diseases. Let’s have a look at some of the most important factors we must keep in mind.
Proven methods of increasing our immunity
Various researches led by scientists have demonstrated that there are a number of secrets that can tremendously increase our immunity, especially during flu epidemics. These healthy habits will help you not get sick, even when the viruses are floating around everywhere.
Outdoor exercise is a great way to stay healthy, and it works wonders especially in the cold season. The common concept that many people have is that preventing cold weather illness consists of isolation and spending time indoors. In fact, this habit can actually favor the development of a respiratory infection, because the germs reproduce in warm temperatures, and are more easily transmitted from one person to another in small and enclosed spaces.
So, when you go out and get some fresh air, you will separate yourself from the germs that circulate in closed spaces. Moreover, outdoor exercise helps stimulate the production of monocytes and neutrophils, defense cells used by our immune function to successfully fight viruses and bacteria.
Relaxation is necessary for the brain and the body for many reasons, including an increased immunity. It is important to make relaxation a priority if you want to significantly reduce your chances of getting sick.
According to specialists, poorly managed stress increases the likelihood of contacting a cold or a flu, because it stimulates the production of stress hormones, such as glucocorticoids. The latter ones prevent the body from producing cytokines, molecules that “inform” our immune system that it’s time to react.
Getting plenty of rest, doing leisure activities and relaxation techniques (breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, etc.) will help you achieve both mental balance and a strong immunity.
Proper hand hygiene
Most infectious diseases are transmitted through a main channel: dirty hands that have touched contaminated objects. Cold and flu, for example, spread very easily this way, so it is very important not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth without properly washing your hands.
Abundant water and soap are two important weapons in fighting many kinds of viruses.
Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing, and dry your palms with a clean towel (wet hands can spread bacteria easier than dry ones).
A healthy sleep schedule
Not getting enough sleep in one single night will have no significant health consequences, but a chaotic sleep schedule over a long period of time greatly affects the immune system’s performance.
Although experts say the need for rest varies from one person to another, specialized studies have shown that less than 7 hours of sleep each night triple the risk of contacting an infection, amid a weakened immune system.
Moderate alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption (more than 1-2 glasses per day) is not the best ally of body immunity. Because it affects resting ability, it can lead to sleep deprivation, an important risk factor in decreasing the body’s resistance to disease.
Researchers have shown that poor protein diets decrease the performance of our immune system. During the seasons in which we’re more likely to get sick, such as winter, it’s important to add natural rich sources of protein to your diet, such as eggs, meat, fish or dairy products.
These practices will benefit your organism, and thus, if you follow them and introduce them into your lifestyle, you will strongly decrease the chances of getting sick. Having a strong immune system is the key to living a long and healthy life.