Protecting Your Immune System From the Flu and COVID This Winter

person injecting someone on his arm

Social distancing and mask-wearing may be key measures for reducing the spread of COVID, but the status of your immune system also matters.

Unfortunately, the sheer stress of navigating a pandemic has done a number on our collective immune response — and this does not bode well as flu season approaches. Take this time to bolster your immune system by implementing these key strategies:

Fix Your Diet

Stress eating may be a common coping mechanism during COVID, but it’s exactly what we should be avoiding at this sensitive time. Instead of turning to junk food, stock your fridge and freezer with healthy ingredients.

Research suggests that people who eat at least five servings of fruit or vegetables per day enjoy a far better immune response than those who neglect produce. The link between healthy eating and immunity is especially significant among seniors, so diet should not be discounted as we continue to battle both the pandemic and the flu.

Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

If you sanitize every surface but spend hours each night scrolling through your phone, you aren’t doing your immune system any favors. Sleep deprivation can make you alarmingly vulnerable to a variety of illnesses — and if you become infected, your lack of rest may limit your ability to recover quickly.

To address this common problem, create a sleep haven free of digital distractions. Build some time into your routine to wind down with a book, a bubble bath, or some other relaxing activity.

Get Immunized

The flu isn’t about to go away simply because COVID is also present. Protect yourself from at least one deadly illness by getting this year’s flu shot at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy.