Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Ways to Boost Your Immunity and Fight Off Infections

Photo by Luke Michael

It’s the season of viruses…we have a “tripledemic” going on with influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID-19 surging throughout the country. Hospitals are getting overwhelmed while staffing shortage continues and cold medications are becoming harder to find on shelves. We all have to do our parts to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Steps to avoid infection

  • Get vaccinated-take flu and covid-19 vaccines
  • Keep up with hand hygiene
  • Wipe down counters/phones/keys with sanitation wipes(viruses can live on surfaces)
  • If someone is infected with a virus, stay away from others, especially young children and elderly(it is spread via respiratory droplets(coughing, sneezing, etc.). Don’t shy away from wearing that mask.

Boost immunity

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get your beauty sleep-don’t skimp on sleep(adults should be getting about 7 to 9 hours a sleep each night)
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Try to minimize stress
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

Foods that help with immunity

Of course, drinking plenty of water and getting those antioxidants in you is important. Here are some examples of foods you should be eating to up your natural immunity.

  • Vitamin C rich foods-citrus fruits such as oranges, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, red bell pepper, strawberries
  • Zinc rich foods-lentils, nuts(almonds, peanuts, cashews), seeds(sunflower seeds)
  • Herbs/spices-garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, local honey
  • Probiotic-yogurt(also rich in vitamins including vitamin D
  • Flavonoids-blueberries, green tea