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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

To build your best defense against colds, flu, COVID-19 and other infections, your daily habits matter. Use this five-day mini challenge to make the right immune-boosting moves second nature.

The best way to boost your immunity is to get recommended vaccines. That includes the flu and COVID-19 shots as well as the pneumococcal vaccine if you’re over 65. Beyond that, it’s all about focusing on everyday things that can keep your immune system thriving.

With cold and flu season approaching, now is the perfect time to make sure your daily habits are keeping you healthy and strong. This fun five-day immune-boost challenge can help. It works like this:

  1. Wash your hands right away:
    Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly lowers the number of germs it must fight off. Here’s when it’s most important to scrub up:
    • Before and after preparing food or eating;
    • Before and after being in a public place or touching things that lots of other people have touched (think: shopping carts, door handles, gas pumps); and
    • After using the bathroom, caring for someone who’s sick, blowing your nose, coughing or handling garbage.
  2. Eat different fruits and vegetables at every meal:
    “The more colorful the fruits and vegetables you consume, the greater variety of health-promoting nutrients you get,” says Jeffrey Landsman, M.D., of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Dr. Landsman is board-certified in Family, Lifestyle and Geriatric medicines.
  3. Take a walk:
    Exercise can boost your immunity. Try to regularly get up to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise to strengthen your body’s natural defenses. That’s especially true for older adults and people who have a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease.
  4. Make sleep a priority:
    Too often, sleep takes a back seat to everything else in life that we need to do. Too little sleep increases the production of inflammatory substances that can make you more likely to get sick with illnesses such as the flu.
  5. Take time to decompress:
    A little stress is normal. In fact, it can even ramp up your immune system and get it ready for a fight. However, stress that goes on without relief can weaken your immune system. So try to find a little time every day to lower your stress levels.

Our world is full of viruses and bacteria. Boost your immune system so your body can protect itself against the germs that could make you sick.

For more information about immune health, read here.

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