3 tips to boost your immune system
When your child comes home from school having picked up yet another cold, and you want their immune system to fight the infection quickly without their cough infecting the rest of the household, there are some quick tips you can take to boost their and your immune function:
Wash your hands – transferring germs from our hands to our mouth and nose is the quickest and easiest way for bugs to flourish. When this happens, your immune system is triggered into action, and so the fun symptoms of a cold or flu begin. So, to prevent germs from even getting near your immune system, wash your hands regularly, and try to avoid shaking hands with bug-ridden companions.
Don’t get worked up or stressed – while easier said than done when your child is spluttering all over the place, stress takes its toll on your immune function and weakens its fighting spirit. Remember to take time each day to relax, (even 10 minutes can make a big difference). When you have deadlines at work, household chores and people coming round for dinner, remember to take a deep breath, take a step back and don’t collapse into full-blown panic.
Laugh – strange as this may seem, laughter is great for your immune function. It boosts infection-fighting white blood cells and reduces the levels of stress hormones in the blood stream. Some even say that laughing regularly helps to lose pounds from your middle, which may come in handy later in this blog post…
Strengthen your immune system
Of course, rather than the short term immune-boosting surge of good habits, long-term measures will go a long way towards preventing your child coming home from school in a sniffling state in the first place. There are certain long-term lifestyle recommendations to support your immune function:
Sleep: now doesn’t that sound like a good idea? Sleep deprivation and sleep problems are rife in today’s society, leading to all sorts of problems, not least fatigue at school and work. Establishing a healthy sleep routine, and getting the optimum seven and a half to nine hours sleep a night is important for keeping your immune system ticking at top speed.
Maintain a healthy weight – having a spare tyre round your middle or being underweight can both lead to problems with immune function. Although reaching that perfect weight can be a bit tricky, following a healthy diet and exercise programme goes a long way towards solving many weight-related health conditions.
Exercise – although it can sometimes feel as if you are developing flu-like symptoms after exercise, especially after a particularly hard training session, exercise is important for strengthening your immune system. Exercise encourages white blood cells (disease fighting cells) to flow through the body at a quicker rate, so that your immune system is prepared to fight infection. However, if you are just beginning to exercise, break yourself in gently, as too much, too quickly, can sap all your energy and leave you feeling run down.
Avoid smoking, passive smoking or smoky environments – get the picture? Your immune system doesn’t like smoke. It suppresses the action of white blood cells, damaging organs and the all-important immune response. Just one cigarette can destroy 25 mg of Vitamin C, that’s nearly half of your recommended daily allowance.
Let Echinacea boost your immune system
Echinacea is a herb which is part of the daisy family. It has traditional use in supporting the immune system. However, now it has been discovered that different parts of the Echinacea plant have different functions in medicine, and therefore using the whole plant provides the most effective results. This means that it can be taken as a quick short-term measure to boost your immune system, or as a longer-term support to strengthen your immune function.
Echinacea is available as a tincture or tablets, and may also be combined with other herbs such as sage to act as a sore throat spray.
Of course the other option is to wear a mask at all times and avoid anyone who is likely to give you a cold...