5 Tips to boost your immune system

Flu season in South Africa is on the way. And with the added risk of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been more important to strengthen your immune system. Boosting immunity is particularly important for people over the age of 65, as older adults tend to have weaker immune systems. In addition to social distancing and meticulous hygiene practices, here’s what you can do to keep the flu virus and other health complications at bay.
1. Watch what you eat
Sticking to a healthy diet is an excellent way to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to fight off infections and viruses. Eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish and nuts. Yoghurt is also a great way to build up good bacteria in your gut. Cut down on fatty meat, and limit processed and fried foods. Supplements such as Vitamin D and C are also considered to support the immune system. Should you need any supplements, avoid going to the shops, and speak to your carer or a family member to get them for you.
2. Get active
Regular exercise improves blood circulation, reduces inflammation and gives your immune system a significant boost. As you get older, strenuous physical activity can become a bit harder, so it’s important to choose activities that suit your level of fitness and abilities. Try walking, swimming, yoga or gentle aerobics for 30 minutes three to five times a week. Be sure to keep social distancing in mind, so avoid large group classes and exercise clubs.
3. Manage your stress levels
When you’re feeling anxious, your body releases stress hormones that suppress the immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses. While it’s hard to avoid stress completely, there are ways to help manage it. Regular exercise, yoga, meditation, reading or gardening can help take your mind off troublesome thoughts.
4. Get some quality shut eye
Sleeping improves brain function and allows your body to heal. Try to get between seven and nine hours’ sleep every night by sticking to a regular bedtime routine. Sleeping in a dark, quiet, cool room can help improve sleep quality. Also take fewer naps during the day and cut down on your caffeine intake.
5. Get the flu vaccination
While the vaccine won’t remove the risk of contracting COVID-19, it will help fight the common flu. This is particularly important for people over the age of 65 with lowered immune systems who will not be able to cope with both the flu and Covid-19. Due to the current lockdown and social distancing, it’s important to take the necessary precautions before seeking out the flu vaccine. Speak to your local healthcare provider for more information on where and how to go about getting vaccinated.
At Totalcare, we have taken every measure to ensure that our residents have access to the best healthcare, exercise facilities, nutritional diets and comfortable living needed for optimum health.

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Individuals over the age of 65 are particularly at risk over the upcoming flu season and the current COVID-19 pandemic. A healthy immune system, excellent hygiene and social distancing are your best defence against the seasonal flu virus and other viral infections. Take a look at these effective ways to boost your immune system.