Boosting Immunity and Navigating Sickness in 2024
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, maintaining good health is a top priority.
Allergies, respiratory infections, or other illnesses can disrupt your daily life, affecting your plans, work schedule, and New Year's resolutions.
A strong immune system is your ally in avoiding sickness and achieving your goals. By effortlessly fighting off infections, your body can have mild or even nonexistent symptoms.
When illness is unavoidable, it’s important to have a plan to navigate your sickness. Being proactive about fueling your body and knowing where to go when sickness comes knocking on your door is the best way to quickly recover and get back to your life.
When you do come down with a sickness this year, consider the convenience of On Demand Care. With a quick virtual consultation, this innovative service ensures you receive timely medical care. This allows you to recover sooner, getting you back to all your year has to offer.
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Have a Game Plan When Illness Strikes
1. Stay Home
Feeling ill? When you’re sick, sharing is not caring. If you're feeling unwell, it's important to prevent the spread of illness to others. Stay home and avoid close contact with family members, colleagues, and strangers.
Contagiousness varies by illness, but you are typically most contagious in the early stages.
If you notice a sore throat or a persistent cough, or if you’re feeling feverish, it’s best to stay home if you are able.
2. Nourish Your Body
While sick, it’s important to fuel your body with easily digestible, nutrient-rich foods. Opt for warm soups, broths, and herbal teas to soothe your throat and provide hydration and nutrients. Incorporate fruits like apples, bananas, and berries to supply your body with essential vitamins and energy to fight off infection.
Stay hydrated throughout your illness with electrolyte-rich drinks, herbal teas, and water.
If you are sick with an upset stomach, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. Does food sound unappetizing? Don’t eat yet.
When you do get hungry, it’s best to start with small sips of a hydrating drink, and slowly introduce plain crackers or toast.
This approach to nutrition supports your recovery and ensures you’re providing the necessary fuel for your immune system to function optimally during illness.
3. Get Adequate Rest
Allow your body the time it needs to heal by getting enough rest. A consistent sleep schedule is always important, especially when sick.
Pay attention to your symptoms to be sure you are supporting your immune system with enough restorative sleep.
If you’re fatigued during the day, your body may need a nap. Tired before bedtime? Maybe hit the hay early tonight. Sleep promotes recovery and helps your immune system fight off illness.
4. Seek Medical Care
If your symptoms persist or worsen, don't hesitate to seek medical attention. CHRISTUS On Demand Care is designed to offer unparalleled convenience, especially when you’re sick at home.
With virtual consultations, you can connect with a CHRISTUS health care provider in less than 30 minutes, eliminating the need to wait for an appointment or the hassle of travel.
Our On Demand service provides immediate access to medical guidance from the comfort of your own home, ensuring you receive timely medical guidance, prescriptions when needed, or answers to your health concerns.
This streamlined process allows you to prioritize your recovery from sickness efficiently, saving time and effort while receiving personalized medical care. The faster you receive treatment, the faster you can recover.
Boosting Immunity for Year-Round Wellness
1. Exercise Regularly
Make exercise an enjoyable and sustainable part of your everyday life for a healthier you. Engage in regular physical activity to help maintain a healthy weight and a strong heart but also to serve as a powerful boost to your immune system.
Whether it’s a brisk walk, strength training, yoga, swimming, recreational sports, or a group fitness class, choose activities that you genuinely enjoy. By developing a positive relationship with exercise, you enhance your physical health while creating a sustainable routine to strengthen your immune system.
If you aren’t sure where to start, your primary doctor may provide you with an exercise prescription to get started.
Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, which could be 30 minutes a day, five days per week. If exercise is currently not in your routine, it’s okay to start small and gradually increase your activity.
Remember, one or two days a week of exercise is better than none.
2. Adopt a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Elevate your immune system and overall well-being by fueling your body with nutritious food. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet ensures you’re providing essential vitamins and minerals.
A good rule of thumb is to build your diet around colorful, whole foods. Instead of reaching for food that has been processed, focus on fresh, whole foods. Most of your meals should consist of fruits and vegetables. Here are some nutrient-rich foods that support immunity:
- Citrus fruits
- Spinach or other leafy greens
- Greek yogurt
- Sweet potato
- Fish, especially salmon
3. Practice Good Hygiene
Promote health for you and those around you by adopting simple habits like proper handwashing, especially before meals and after being in public places.
This simple practice contributes to a proactive approach to boosting your immunity. By simply washing your hands frequently, you promote a healthier environment and reduce the risk of illness for yourself and those around you.
Most illnesses are spread through direct or indirect contact, or particles in the air from coughing or sneezing. The more frequently you properly wash your hands, the less likely you are to spread germs to yourself or those around you.
Studies show that scrubbing your hands with an antibacterial soap for 20 seconds removes harmful germs. Any less time could mean you’re spreading germs on everything you touch afterward, from your door handles to your food.
A good rule of thumb: when you walk in your front door, it’s a good idea to go straight to the sink to wash your hands.
4. Practice Preventive Health Care
Ensure your long-term well-being and enjoy peace of mind by prioritizing prevention and early detection.
A regular checkup with your primary care doctor offers you the proactive advantage of finding and addressing potential health issues early, enhancing your overall health and vitality.
From routine bloodwork to an overview of your lifestyle choices, a simple checkup can help your doctor identify anything that could develop into a health condition. Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations and follow your health care provider’s guidance on preventive care and lifestyle changes when needed.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Regular, quality sleep is crucial for overall health. Your sleep impacts your:
- Heart health
- Blood pressure
- Anxiety levels
- And more
If you have trouble falling asleep, you are not alone. In 2020, 14.5 percent of adults in America had trouble falling asleep.
The recommended 7 to 9 hours of nightly sleep is a positive investment for your overall well-being, impacting your energy, mood, and immune system.
Need to make some changes to catch more Z’s? Here are some tips to get more sleep to improve your immunity and overall health.
- Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time: This enhances your body’s internal clock for better sleep quality, more energy during the day, and improved overall well-being.
- Create a bedtime routine: Journal, read or do something calming the hour before you head to bed. This facilitates a smoother transition into restful sleep.
- Turn off the screens: The light from your TV and phone screen impacts your sleep hormones. Power off your screens at least an hour before bedtime to help your brain wind down.
- Avoid large meals, alcohol, or caffeine before bedtime: This ensures your digestive system can fully relax and get a good night’s sleep.
- Incorporate exercise during the day: If your body is tired, it will be easier to fall asleep and enjoy a full night of restorative sleep.
6. Manage Stress
When you are stressed, your body is putting energy and effort toward managing the stress, weakening the systems it uses to fight off viruses and infections.
This leaves you much more vulnerable to coming down with a sickness. By managing stress, you not only can enjoy life more, but you are strengthening your immune system as well. Some simple ways to manage stress include meditation or deep breathing exercises, physical activity, quality sleep, a healthy diet, and social support.
Chronic stress weakens the immune system. Incorporate stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing, meditation, or hobbies into your routine to promote emotional well-being.
7. Maintain Clean Living Spaces
A clean living environment supports your overall health, ensuring your body’s immune response isn’t constantly challenged by environmental stressors.
A tidy home minimizes exposure to harmful substances, allergens, and pathogens, reducing the risk of illnesses in your living space. Dust, vacuum, and disinfect commonly-toughed surfaces to create a healthier atmosphere, allowing your immune system to function properly.
By maintaining a clean home, you are also promoting mental well-being, reducing stress, and fostering a healthy mindset—key factors in supporting a robust immune system.
8. Be Seasonally Aware
Different seasons bring different health challenges. By being aware of seasonal illnesses, allergies, and viruses, you can properly support your immune system throughout the year. This awareness contributes to a healthier lifestyle with a stronger immune system.
Here are common illnesses to be aware of by season:
- Winter: Influenza, COVID-19, colds, sinus infections, bronchitis
- Spring: Asthma triggers, allergies, respiratory illness, colds, Lyme disease
- Summer: Asthma, heat stroke, food poisoning, chicken pox
- Fall: Influenza, COVID-19, RSV, allergies
Staying healthy in 2024 is about adopting simple yet impactful habits that fortify your immune system.
If illness does strike, follow the recommended steps for recovery, and consider the convenience of CHRISTUS On Demand Care for fast and efficient virtual consultations. Your health is your wealth, and with these strategies, you can navigate the new year with confidence.