5 ways to boost your immune system

Your immune system has a great fight to put up during flu season. When surrounding family members, friends and neighbours start coughing and sneezing, it's hard to prevent yourself from catching their cold. However, by boosting your immune system, you can help keep your body in tip-top shape during cold and flu season, as well as keep illness from spreading to your loved ones. Prepare yourself this year with these helpful tips for strengthening you and your loved one's immune system and maximizing your overall health.

1. Keep exercising
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, a healthy diet and moderate physical activity routine can help boost your immune system. It suggests seniors take part in two and a half hours of moderately-intense aerobic activity each week to improve overall health, well-being and quality of life. Spend 20 minutes on your fitness every day during the winter to keep your immune system going strong.

2. Eat healthy foods
Healthline suggests incorporating more citrus fruits, red bell peppers and broccoli into your diet to help keep the flu bug at bay. All of these foods are packed with vitamin C, which is well known for keeping your immune system in great shape. The source also noted this vitamin has been known to increase the amount of white blood cells in your body, which can help fight off infections.

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C.
Oranges are a great source of vitamin C.

3. Wash your hands
Hand-washing is extremely important for eliminating bacteria during flu season. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, practicing healthy hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent health-care associated infections or illnesses. Make sure to wash your hands throughout the day, especially after using the restroom and before eating, and don't be shy to make use of antibacterial dispensers while visiting a hospital, retirement residence or other public place.

4. Don't smoke
According to Everyday Health, smoking tobacco can weaken basic immune system protectors and can raise the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia. If you're a smoker, consider quitting to strengthen your immune system and improve your overall health.

"Consuming alcohol can weaken your immune system."

5. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system by destroying its protective barriers. By drinking less alcohol, you can help improve the structure of your immune system.

Chartwell Retirement Residences strives to help their residents stay healthy by providing a nutritious and delicious meal plan, as well as a variety of ways to stay physically active. Their Infection Prevention and Control teams and committees also provide residents and their families with the necessary information for basic infection control and safety precautions to ensure a healthy living space for all residents.