3 tips on how to improve your immune system this winter

June 24, 2022

Is your immune system under ceaseless attack this winter? Want to maximise protection from the circulating bugs? There are steps you can take to give your immune system a leg up.

  1. Get vaccinated
  2. Maintain good hygiene and social distancing
  3. Tweak your lifestyle to boost your immune health

Let’s dive into the details and help you and your loved ones thrive this winter.

Get a flu shot to avoid getting sick this winter.
The flu shot can ward of strong strains of the illness.

1. It’s not too late to vaccinate

The flu shot causes antibodies to develop in your body about two weeks after vaccination. Then, if you get infected, these antibodies help your body fight and kill the virus. The most common strains of the flu virus change every year. The vaccine differs slightly every year to match these changes. That’s why you should get the influenza vaccine this year, even if you’ve had it before.

Some groups of people can have very serious, even life-threatening, symptoms if they get the flu:

  • those aged 65 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 6 months of age
  • children between 6 months and 5 years
  • those with a range of chronic conditions, such as:
    • heart disease
    • coronary artery disease
    • asthma and COPD
    • diabetes

For these groups the flu vaccination is free. You can check with a doctor to find out if you’re eligible for a free vaccination.

Got any vaccine questions? InstantScripts doctors can help you with the latest advice.

2. Hygiene and social distancing

Behaviours that help slow the spread of COVID-19 will also slow the spread of colds, flu and other bugs:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, including before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and wash your hands
  • Avoid contact with others by staying 1.5 metres from people
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell

Prevent getting sick with the cold and flu this winter by boosting your immune system.
Stay healthy and avoid the cold and flu this winter by eating lots of green veggies and fruit.

3. Lifestyle hacks for immune health

Help your immune system fend off winter bugs by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and ditching some less-than-healthful habits.

Diet

To pack your body with immune-boosting macro- and micro-nutrients, eat plenty of:

  • Nutrient-rich greens
  • Vitamin-filled vegetables
  • Colourful fruits
  • Wholegrains

Want to check how healthy you are? Request a pathology referral here.

Exercise

Scientists study how exercise impacts your immune function. This area of science even has its own name: exercise immunology.

And what have they found?  Regular exercise is linked to fewer cases of flu and pneumonia, as well as fewer deaths.

So, add some exercise to each day. Even 15 minutes walking will make a difference.

Bulldoze your bad habits

Finally, with some minor tweaks in your habits, you can combat these well-known enemies of the immune system:

  • Stress: You can take the pressure down with some deep breathing or mindfulness
  • Sleeplessness: Try some of this advice to get a better night’s sleep
  • Smoking: Make this winter the winter you quit
  • Excessive alcohol: You could try to go dry (or drink a little less)
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