Boosting your immune system during cold and flu season

Unfortunately, fall and winter bring the cold and flu season. If you’ve ever caught a bad cold or the flu, you probably know how miserable the symptoms can be. However, there are ways to help boost your immune system so it can do its job of protecting your body.

Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. The virus spreads through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract, which can lead to congestion, sore throat, sneezing, body aches, and fever. The symptoms of flu tend to come on quickly and can become serious in some cases.

Symptoms of the flu

  • Fever over 100.5 F
  • Achy muscles, especially in back and limbs
  • Chills and sweating
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache

When are your symptoms serious?

If your condition worsens, seek medical attention. In some cases, the flu virus can cause pneumonia because the immune system is in a weakened state. It is important not to ignore symptoms such as coughing, fever, and trouble breathing, especially after flu symptoms have peaked. Flu combined with pneumonia can be deadly if you do not seek medical attention immediately.

Boosting your immune system

  • Get a flu shot
  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay active
  • Eat some zinc
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep stress in check
  • Avoid people who are sick

Neil Van Leeuwen, MD
Davis Hospital and Medical Center