Fall is such a great time of year! We’re turning the page to a new season, heading into the holidays, and hopefully feeling a little relief from the summer heat. However, those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies or a pesky sickness that strikes like clockwork every year are not singing fall’s praises. Even when we think we’re taking precautions, colds, flu, and all their friends somehow find their way into our homes. Why?
Well, in the spring and fall especially, our immune systems are preoccupied managing our allergies, which can leave us even more vulnerable to sickness. If it feels like an uphill battle, that’s because it is! Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to deal with allergies, the swings in temperature and pressure can compromise the immune system’s ability to fight off germs. If you’re taking your activities indoors, that is also a place germs love to hang out, making it easier to pass the sickness around.
The variables are nearly endless, and, while our immune system does a great job on its own of protecting us from foreign invaders and itty-bitty organisms that cause disease, it’s always a good idea to offer it a little more support! If your calendar is filling up with all sorts of fall fun, your immune system is likely working overtime, so here are our top tips for giving your immune system a helpful boost through this festive season – and to help you stay healthy all year.
Eating well is one of the best things you can do for your health no matter the season, but it can be especially helpful when sickness is knocking at the door. And what does “eating well” actually mean? In a word: balanced! A great place to start is by prioritizing fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains, and limiting added sugars and highly processed foods. These foods provide nutrients that support immune function which is exactly what the body is craving this time of year.
While everyone’s body has a different idea of what is “enough” sleep, aiming for anywhere between 7-8 hours is a good guide. When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, there can be a reduction in the production of antibodies that help fight viruses and other infections. Think of sleep as a to-do and try to develop a routine by getting into bed early without electronics to help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep.
The benefits of exercise are plentiful, and a crucial one is supporting the immune system. Exercising helps to lower the production of stress hormones like cortisol which can suppress the immune system. Physical activity also encourages circulation which makes it a little easier for immune cells to travel through the body and protect us wherever needed. Go ahead and get your heart pumping in the crisp air this season. Your immune system will thank you!
Easier said than done, that’s for sure. But engaging in less stressful activities like meditation, deep breathing, peaceful walks, stretching, or even journaling have been proven to support the immune system. Quiet, guided stress reduction practices may be a good option for you if you find a few extra minutes in your day.
Though it is simple, washing your hands is extremely effective in protecting yourself and others from germs. The skin is the body’s largest organ and an entryway for invaders like viruses. Stay on top of your handwashing practices whether you are out and about or at home with the family, preparing meals, or juggling little ones. Scrub, scrub, scrub while you count to 20, and enjoy less sickness this season.
It is that time of year for everyone in the family to get their flu shots—and COVID-19 boosters if you are all eligible. The flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone over the age of 6 months and it is very important for those under 5 years old for whom the flu is especially dangerous. Schedule your vaccines before the season gets going to offer your immune system a helping hand in fighting off whatever strains find their way around this year.
There is so much to look forward to this year and ensuring you are supporting your immune system in every way will make for a fun and festive fall.
If you are wondering what else you can do to give your immune system a fighting chance, Dr. Buddiga and his team offer Immune Health Testing that determines your immune system’s ability to protect itself from infection. This can be achieved by testing for Immunoglobulin M, Immunoglobulin G, Immunoglobulin G1-G4 subclasses, and Immunoglobulin A. The immune system consists of 2 major arms the first arm being “Humoral immunity” and the second being “cell-mediated immunity” represented by B cells and T cells respectively. Therefore, testing for T and B cell subsets may be helpful diagnostically.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buddiga, fill out this contact form. We can’t wait to help you and your family feel their best all fall and winter long.
To book a consultation during business hours, please fill out the form below, and we’ll call you to book your appointment by the end of the business day. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.