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Stay Healthy, not Sick: Five Ways to Boost your Immune System this Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us. It’s time for celebrations and fun, not fever, chills and sore throats.

Get a flu shot
Getting a flu shot is more valuable than you may think. Even if you “never get the flu” you can be exposed to the flu virus every time you are out in public, increasing your chances of getting sick.

Use Antibacterial gel and wipes
If you find yourself at the store buying holiday foods and gifts, be sure to use disinfectant wipes in the store carts before using. And for all you travelers out there, you need to wipe the arm rests, table trays and latch, seat belt buckle and air vents on your plane. These areas are full of germs that can live up to 24 hours. Other areas of contamination are escalator rails, elevator buttons, ATM screens, menus, and just about anything that numerous people touch. Use hand sanitizer after contacting any of these germy areas.

Stay Hydrated
Viruses and bacteria thrive in low humidity so drink lots of water, especially when traveling on a plane. Staying hydrated keeps the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth moist, reducing your risk of infection.

Rest up
If you run yourself ragged with too much work, travel, shopping, and celebrating you run the risk of becoming ill due to your depressed immune system. Make sure you get adequate rest and sleep at night. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who slept at least eight hours a night were three times less likely to catch a cold than those who slept less than seven hours.

Cheers, in moderation
It’s OK to have some fun this holiday season. Have a drink or two, just don’t overdo it. Try alternating an alcoholic drink with a glass of water. You will consume less alcohol and fewer calories, and avoid the next-day headache. And always remember, never drink and drive.

By Josette Taglieri, DO