If you constantly get sick with colds and viruses, the problem may be attributed to several factors. While it is not always possible to prevent a cold or stomach bug, you may reduce the risk by following a few simple rules, such as having a complete physical examination, getting adequate sleep, and consuming a nutritious diet. Here are a few pointers to boost your immunity.
1. Schedule a Check Up
If you've been feeling run down and have been getting sick frequently, it is time to see your family physician. Your doctor might run a few tests to ensure no underlying medical issues could be weakening your immune system. It is a good idea to rule out any medical causes that could be putting you at a higher risk for catching colds and infections.
Once you've been given a clean bill of health, you can start looking for other causes for your frequent colds.
2. Get a Flu Shot Every Year
Yes, a flu vaccination only protects against strains of influenza and not the common cold. However, if you tend to catch frequent colds, your immune system may not be strong enough to ward off complications from the flu. Your best course of action is to receive an annual flu shot, especially if you are more prone to infections or at higher risk.
If you have ever had a negative reaction to a flu shot or you are allergic to eggs, speak with your doctor before getting the vaccination. Also, if you are presently ill with a fever, you should wait until you have recovered before receiving your flu shot.
3. Don't Skimp on Sleep
Did you know that studies have shown that individuals who don't get enough sleep are at a higher risk for illness? If you are sleep deprived, your immune system may be affected, and this makes you more prone to getting sick when exposed to viruses.
While you may not always be able to get a full eight hours of sleep each night, it's in your best interest to try to improve your sleeping habits. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. Burning the candle at both ends just may be the reason why you've been catching colds at every turn.
4. Ditch the Junk Food
You probably recognize the importance of consuming a nutritional diet. Did you also know that junk food may be compromising your immune system? Regular indulgence of burgers and fries at the fast food restaurant could be another reason why you're always getting colds.
Rather than eating a diet that is high in fat and sugar, eat healthy servings of lean meat, fish, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You may find that your incidence of colds and infection are reduced.
5. Quit Smoking
If you are a smoker, you are at a higher risk of developing a host of medical conditions that affect the heart and lungs. Smoking cigarettes also suppresses the immune system. If you've been catching frequent colds and infections, it is time to ditch the nicotine habit for good. You may be surprised how your general health improves.
6. Reduce Your Stress
Health experts agree that stress negatively affects the body. If you have been under a lot of stress lately, you may be more likely to catch infections. When you are stressed out, your body releases a chemical known as cortisol. Cortisol not only suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system.
Whether your stress comes from being overworked or bogged down with personal life struggles, you may need to take a step back and relax. If you cannot find time to take a much-needed vacation, find time to unwind at the end of a busy day or on your day off. Do something you enjoy, such as your favorite hobby. Get outdoors and exercise, as this, too, may help reduce stress and boost your immune system.
Follow the tips above for a healthier life. If you have further health concerns, consult one of our physicians at Hampstead Medical Center PC.