In the United States, flu season generally starts in October and stretches until May. The flu can affect people of all ages every year and its symptoms include runny nose, coughing, chills, fever, headache, and body aches. These symptoms can be mild or severe depending on a person’s immune system and usually last up to 3 to 7 days. To age gracefully, you need to maintain good health by strengthening your immune system. Here is how you can boost immune system in old age to ward off the flu and other viruses.
Getting a Flu Vaccination
Getting an annual flu shot is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the flu. The shot has been shown to lower the risk of needing nursing care by at least 40 percent and lower the risk of flu by up to 40 to 60 percent. The shot stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies that help protect against infection.
Having a Nutritious Diet
Consuming well-balanced, nutritious meals is essential to boost your immune system. This includes having plenty of vegetables and fruits which are packed with antioxidants to promote good senior health. Many minerals and vitamins play a part in helping older adults maintain their immunity and the best way to have enough nutrients is to eat a variety of foods.
It is important for older adults to stay active since it offers plenty of benefits. It can help you maintain body strength and mobility with age while also improving blood circulation. Participating in various activities can also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Staying active is also known to be associated with better immunity according to research. It is shown that staying mobile can raise the body’s ability to detect harmful invaders.
Chronic stress can cause various adverse implications on our body including reducing our immune response. When faced with a stressful situation, the body increases the production of a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone helps the body to deal with stressors and also restricts certain bodily functions that are not important in a fight or flight situation, including the immune system.
Having Enough Sleep
Quality sleep becomes even more essential as we age. It can enhance our concentration, brain function, and memory. Someone who is deprived of quality sleep can experience various problems such as poor immunity. To improve the quality of your sleep, you can try the following techniques:
- Maintain a regular bedtime
- Create a comfortable sleep environment
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
- Limit daytime naps to less than an hour
- Limit alcohol consumption
Supporting Gut Health
There are trillions of tiny organisms in our body and most of them are found in our gut. These organisms play an important role in our general health and maintaining good gut health can support a good immune system. To support your gut health, you can try the following methods:
- Try fermented foods like miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sauerkraut
- Eat foods rich in fiber like beans, fruits, and vegetables
Only use antibiotics when needed