Fall is a favorite time of year for many people. The days can be sunny, crisp, and invigorating. After the busy days of summer, most people settle back into a comfortable daily routine. One less welcome part of fall, however, is that viruses begin to make the rounds again. As people spend more time indoors, the risk for contracting colds, flu, and COVID-19 is higher.
Beyond speaking with your doctor about what vaccines are right for you, there are steps you can take that may help lower the odds of becoming sick. From practicing good handwashing hygiene to eating well, getting quality sleep, exercising, and reducing stress, here are a few suggestions to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Immunity Boosters: How to Guard Against Viruses
Wash your hands often
Because many viruses that make the rounds during the fall and winter are highly contagious, practicing healthy handwashing hygiene is a must. For example, research shows that the influenza virus can linger for as long as 24 to 48 hours on surfaces such as door knobs, counters, faucets, and more. If you touch something with the virus on it and then rub your nose or scratch your face, you’re likely to develop the flu.
Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching a bug and passing your germs on to others. For times you don’t have access to soap and water, carry hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket.
Most of us have listened to our doctors say how important it is to exercise on a regular basis. It’s good for maintaining muscle mass and protecting your cardiovascular system. One lesser-known benefit of physical fitness is that it also helps pump up your immune system. Physical activity helps your body trigger an immune response to effectively shut down infections if you’ve been exposed to a virus.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating a healthy diet is another effective way to improve and maintain immunity. By consuming foods rich in vitamins and micronutrients, you can strengthen your immune system. This helps your body fight off viruses or, at the very least, recover faster. Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fishes are good choices. As are blueberries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, nuts, and yogurt. Spices such as ginger and turmeric may also help.
Get quality sleep
Sleep is another crucial component of strong immunity. Not sleeping enough or getting poor quality sleep is linked to a weakened immune system. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of good sleep every night. If you are struggling with insomnia or find yourself having a hard time staying asleep, talk with your doctor. There might be an underlying health issue, such as sleep apnea, causing it.
Chronic stress can also weaken the immune system in a variety of ways. It can inhibit the digestive system, increase blood pressure, and interrupt your sleep. Finding healthy ways to manage stress levels is important. Activities such as meditation, yoga, journaling, and swimming can help. As can enjoying a few laughs on a regular basis.
Stay Healthy This Fall
Being sick is never fun, so taking some preventative steps to stay healthy now is important. At PSL communities, we make that easier to do. From nutritious meals to a wide range of on-site fitness programs, we invite you to schedule a personal visit to see for yourself. Call a location near you today to set up a time!
About Presbyterian Senior Living
Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 95 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.