5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System And Avoid Getting Sick

Don't let the sniffles get you.


Ilitha Sithebe |

If you haven’t already been booked off sick, you’re probably staring down your snotty coughing colleague hoping they won’t sneeze on you (again).  A recent survey done by Pharma Dynamics shows that South Africans are very ill-prepared for these times, also evidenced by the number of days of work lost due to sickness.

The survey, which aimed to determine how “prepped” South Africans are for the 2019 colds and flu season, found that a staggering 64% couldn’t be bothered to eat more healthily by increasing their intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, 80% haven’t gone for the flu-jab and 6 out of 10 people don’t implement proper hygiene practices, such as regular hand washing.

Of the 1 800 South Africans that participated in the online poll, three quarters won’t be going to bed earlier to get in their 8-hours of rest and less than half are boosting their immunity with multivitamins and health tonics.

Here are simple ways to boost your immune system and dodge the flu…

Rest

We’ve all fallen to one of the classic blunders: we forgo sleep for cramming for an exam, working or just staying up late for all the good times. Annemarie Blackmore, Antimicrobial Manager of Pharma Dynamics, says that people who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to colds.

Try getting into a routine of ‘winding down’ earlier and getting to sleep earlier. We are big tea drinkers at WH HQ and can recommend these teas to help you sleep better. Also, try to eat earlier and give yourself some space from tech and TV. Rather listen to a bedtime story on the CALM app or read a big (no bright screens), to help you wind down.

READ MORE: 3 Questions Everyone Should Ask Their Doc Before Accepting An Antibiotic

Drink water

Just because it’s colder does not mean you should lessen the amount of liquids you drink. We know it’s tough! This is where herbal teas come in. Buchu and rooibos are our faves and they’re both caffeine-free and packed with immune-boosting properties. (Just don’t load up on sugar and milk).

If you happen to get sick, know this: you lose a lot of fluids! Drinking water is important when recovering from an illness.

Exercise

Exercising throughout the winter will improve your overall fitness which in turn will boost your immune system. A boosted immune system will combat colds much easier! Exercise with friends, whether it’s going for a jog or playing football at the park. You’ll feel healthier while also staying in good physical condition.

Been sick and thinking of exercising again? Dr Christine Kriel warns to not exercise within 24 hours of fever and tiredness. So if you’re feeling like you’re getting sick or you’re not 100% better yet, just be careful. You can always consult your doctor if you’re unsure. Remember that exercising when you’re sick can put strain on your heart.

READ MORE: 9 Flu Shot Side Effects You Should Know About

Stock up on meds

61% of participants in the survey conducted by Pharma Dynamics said they would not buy any cold or flu medication in preparation of the cold and flu season. However, there are some really affordable and handy over-the-counter meds that you can get your hands on that just might help you nip a cold before it turns into a secondary infection.

Dr Kriel recommends stocking up on nasal spray and decongestants for symptoms, mucolytic for phlegm and paracetamol and ibuprofen for fever and pain. Really handy if you happen to get home from work and start experiencing one of the above symptoms at night.

Healthy food and supplements

Vitamin C can shorten the duration of an illness says Dr Kriel. It’s easily accessible through citrus fruits (oranges, orange juice, lemon), broccoli and tomatoes. You can also boost your dose with supplements like Berocca or Vital vitamins.

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READ MORE ON: Colds and Flu Health Health Advice