Influenza is a very nasty viral illness. It is also really common so at some point in your life you are likely to be struck down by flu. Flu tends to be a seasonal illness in that it is a lot more prevalent in the winter months, but it is possible to catch the flu at any time of the year.
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One way to avoid catching the flu is to ensure your immune system is in tip-top condition. A healthy immune system can’t completely prevent the flu from striking you down, but it will certainly provide a decent level of protection if you don’t have any flu antibodies in your system from a previous infection. So how can you boost your immune system and stay healthy?
The human immune system is like a finely tuned car engine. If you put the right fuel in and don’t rev it too hard, you shouldn’t have too many problems, but if you abuse it, before long the wheels will fall off.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet packed full of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables will go a long way towards keeping your immune system in good working order. Try and avoid eating too much junk food because this type of processed food usually contains high levels of trans fats, sugars and other nasty ingredients.
Take Regular Exercise
Exercise is a great immune system booster. People who take regular exercise, particularly outdoors in the fresh air, tend to be less susceptible to viral infections such as the flu. You do need to be careful not to overdo it, however, as working out too much can have the opposite effect and leave you vulnerable to colds, etc.
Keep Your Weight at a Healthy Level
Being overweight puts a huge strain on the body. Many overweight people suffer from serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. All of these things increase your risk factor for catching the influenza virus, which is why people who fall into these categories are usually offered a flu vaccination in the autumn. To prevent this from happening to you, make an effort to lose weight and boost your immune system at the same time.
Smoking is not good for the immune system. In fact it is bad for your health full stop, as you are probably already aware. Quitting smoking is one way to improve your overall health and avoid catching the flu, so make an effort to cut down or quit today and see how much better you feel.
Get Lots of Sleep
Burning the candle at both ends is a recipe for disaster. We all need around 8 hours sleep a night, so if you are only getting 6 hours or less most nights, it won’t be long before you end up catching every viral infection going.
No matter what state your immune system is in, make sure you wash your hands regularly and stay away from anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms. And if you are in a high-risk category, have a flu vaccination before flu season arrives.