As you have probably heard, the 2018 flu season has been a doozy.
Instead of influenza A and B taking turns circulating, USA Today reports that both are going around at the same time, and this year’s flu shot seems to have missed the mark. One strain of the flu, H3N2, is especially nasty this year, making people feel even worse than usual.
As a parent, you are naturally concerned about these statistics. While you don’t want to be a total worry wart, you do want to do whatever it takes to keep you and your kiddos healthy. One key way to do this is to take some tangible steps to boost your immune systems. Here’s how:
Add High-quality Supplements to Your Diet
A number of vitamins and other natural supplements have been linked to improving the immune system. For instance, according to the US National Institutes of Health, a deficiency in vitamin C causes the body to have a reduced resistance to certain pathogens, while adding vitamin C to the diet enhances the immune system. If you and your family do not take vitamins already, now is a great time to start. To be sure you are getting the highest-quality vitamins and supplements possible, purchase them from a reputable company like Amway, which sells the Nutrilite line of supplements. As it notes on Amway’s Twitter page—which is a great source for info about the company’s health products—their Vitamin C Extended Release supplement is formulated to provide all-day immune support, which may help you get through the cold and flu season unscathed.
Get Enough Rest
As a busy parent, there are probably plenty of days where you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends. If you routinely skimp on sleep, it can negatively affect your immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have found that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Fortunately, the flip side is also true—sleeping more can help to boost your immunity. When you are catching those 40 winks, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which not only promote good sleep, but also help to fight off infections. If you are sleep deprived, your body is not cranking out enough protective cytokines. Do what you can to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night; for instance, cut back on your social media time, answer emails during the day and record your fave TV shows so you can zap through the commercials and finish the programs sooner. If you need help relaxing, try a guided meditation app like Headspace.
Tickle Your Funny Bone to Reduce Stress
While everyone feels stressed from time to time, if it is chronic, it can make you more likely to catch a cold or flu bug. According to WebMD, non-stop stress exposes your system to a constant stream of stress hormones that weaken the immune system. To reduce your stress level, you can try things like yoga or meditation, scheduling fun outings with friends who support and rejuvenate you, and getting out for a brisk walk or other exercise. As it turns out, laughing is also great at reducing your stress levels while boosting your immunity; in addition to slowing down those nasty stress hormones, a good chuckle increases the production of an infection-fighting white blood cell. Instead of a doom and gloom show on TV, choose a funny program that will make you laugh—your immune system will thank you.
Stay Healthy Now, and All Year
By taking steps to boost your immune systems and those of your family members, you will hopefully get through the rest of this year’s ultra-harsh flu season with clean bills of health. Continue to take those vitamins, get enough sleep and reduce stress through funny movies and shows, and your immune system should continue to be in good shape for the rest of the year.