The 2015-2016 flu season is in full swing, but it’s never too late to enhance your overall immunity. Without an alert and fully-functioning immune system, the influenza virus is always a lurking threat.
What are some ways you can bolster your immunity during the flu season? Do they actually work? And what about flu shots? Is it too late to get one?
All worthwhile questions, and we have some answers. Remember, a robust immune system doesn’t just help you avoid the flu – it also assists in battling other illnesses and helps you recover more quickly, just in case you come down with something.
First Things First – Get a Flu Shot
Flu shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the best way to improve immunity. It’s actually the only targeted method to help increase immunity to the influenza virus. As we’ll see later in this blog, there are other ways to decrease your chances of catching the flu. But a flu shot – available at all Urgent Care Extra walk-in healthcare clinics – gives you the best shot at avoiding the flu altogether.
The current flu season is considered rather mild, compared to past flu seasons. Still, there were nearly 280,000 confirmed cases of the flu virus in the United States from October 4, 2015 to February 6, 2016.
Aside from a flu shot, it’s a good idea to feed your body a healthy diet. Supplementing works, too. Read on for some extra immunity-boosting tips.
Skip super-processed foods
Eating whole foods is recommended when you’re not sick, and avoiding processed foods is even more important when fending off the flu. Gluten, sugar, processed oils and other foods actually suppress immune function. Bolster immunity by going “green” – healthy fruits and veggies, smoothies and other natural, nutritious options.
Try a probiotic supplement
Taking tangible measures to bolster your immune system starts with things you can see. But it doesn’t end there – a small, microscopic war is waged inside every person, deep down in the gut. It’s a fight between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Essentially, whenever the bad guys are winning, pandemonium occurs in regards to immunity – inflammation ramps up, and we’re more likely to get sick. A well-balanced gut flora can significantly improve your immune system. To optimize the impact of a probiotic supplement, avoid excessive sugar and make sure you’re getting enough rest; this added lifestyle balance will help the probiotic do its thing.
As we touched on in a previous blog, breaking a sweat every now and again does wonders for the body. In particular, short and brief bursts of exercise (sprints, weightlifting, etc.) help increase the body’s ability to ward off nasty viruses like the flu. But beware of too much exercise – repetitive cardio marathon sessions on the exercise bike, endless jogging and similar workouts can degrade and weaken the immune system. Keep your exercise regimen short, simple and spontaneous!
Go with garlic, select citrus fruits and chow down on chicken soup
Sounds like a strange trio, but it works. We don’t recommend eating all three foods at once, but feel free to embark on your own immune-building culinary adventure. Let’s look at each food separately:
- Garlic – The pungent bulb contains allicin, a rare compound that has anti-bacterial properties. Plus, there’s promising research that allicin fights common viruses like the flu. So don’t be shy – add extra garlic to your flu season diet.
- Chicken soup – Grandma was right. Chicken soup really is good for the soul. It’s also an easy way to avoid the flu. If you’re unlucky enough to catch the flu, good ol’ chicken soup can speed your recovery, too!
- Citrus fruits – Vitamin C is a proven immune booster, and there’s not many better ways to get extra Vitamin C than with oranges, tangerines, guavas, kiwi fruit, berries and other tasty, nutrient-packed fruits. If you aren’t a fan of citrus fruits, broccoli and kale are two vegetables super-high in Vitamin C.
Urgent Care Extra’s flu shots, primary care physician services and immediate walk-in medical assistance can help you stay as healthy as humanly possible! Whether you’re in the midst of flu season or are feeling great, it’s always good to know that UCE is in your corner.
With over 30 walk-in healthcare clinics in Arizona, a growing menu of medical services and satisfied patients all across the state, Urgent Care Extra is here for you. We hope this blog is helpful in keeping you flu-free in the months to come! For more info on Urgent Care Extra, please call one of our healthcare experts at (480) 988-9108.