5 Ways You Can Boost Your Immune System and Avoid Getting Sick This Winter
December 16, 2019
Achoo! That sound usually means someone near you has just sneezed. This occurrence becomes even more common during the winter months. The next thing you know everyone around you is coming down with a cold. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year millions of Americans come down with the common cold. How can you avoid getting sick? Here are 5 ways you can boost your immune system and avoid getting sick this winter:
1. Strengthen Your Stomach
You can boost your immune system by strengthening your stomach. The microbes in your gut help regulate your body’s immune system. That’s why it’s important to increase your intake of probiotics or good bacteria. They can help reduce the severity of a cold or flu. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can help support bacterial health.
2. Clean Surfaces & Wash Your Hands
The CDC says, in order to avoid getting the common cold, you should always wash your hands. Don’t ever touch your face with unwashed hands! This is a common way that germs are spread. Make sure you wash your hands and clean the surfaces in your home often. You’ll want to clean the surfaces at work and home that come into contact with most people. These areas usually include phones, doorknobs, counters, computers, printers, etc. Also, be sure to bring sanitary wipes with you to public places like restaurants and grocery stores to clean common surfaces.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Some people might not know this, but there is a strong link between a healthy immune system and getting enough sleep each night. When your body becomes tired from lack of sleep, then it becomes harder for your immune system to fight off sickness. If you want to avoid getting a cold this winter, then you should definitely start getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
4. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to boost your immune system. Our body needs water! It helps carry the necessary nutrients to various places in our body. You can also stock up on orange juice if you want to give your immune system a boost in Vitamin C.
5. Stay Away From People That Are Sick
People that are sick can easily spread the virus to others. That’s why it’s important to stay away from people who have a cold or the flu. Likewise, if you find yourself with a cold you should stay home and not spread it to your workplace. This is the best way to ensure sickness isn’t spread from person-to-person.
If You Get Sick
Sometimes you can do all the right things and still get sick. If you do get sick then you should schedule an appointment with your Ascension Network doctor. Many Ascension Network doctors offer online scheduling for you to quickly and easily make an appointment. Remember that the Emergency Room is meant to be used for emergencies and most common colds are able to be treated by your primary doctor. Going to your Ascension Network primary care doctor (PCP) will also be the most cost advantageous method for you because there is a much higher cost to go to the ER than there is to go to a primary care doctor or urgent care.
Another option is Ascension Online Care where you can video chat with a doctor online 24/7 for your urgent care needs. And beginning January 1, 2020, online urgent care will be covered by your SmartHealth medical plan. For members with the PPO plan, the copay will be $20 and for members with the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), the copay will be $59. With both plans, the copay applies toward your deductible. You can use your FSA/HSA/HRA to pay for the out-of-pocket costs of online care. Get started at ascension.org/onlinecare or download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store.