It’s amazing the numbers of people impacted by the flu and all the other illnesses that are so prevalent right now…. as a psychologist, its hard to ignore that maybe, just maybe one of the reasons for this is the increased expectation of getting sick, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I suspect that some of this comes just from feeling vulnerable but there is more you can do on the side of prevention that extends past just washing your hands.
How to raise your immunity now:
1) Move the body--this extends from cardio workouts to gentle movement such as stretching and especially yoga. How does this stop you from getting sick? The lymph system relies on movement of the body for it to pump fluid that brings nutrients to our cells while flushing bacteria from our systems. Exercise (in moderation) also releases endorphins which helps counter stress hormones such as cortisol which can in itself lower the body’s immunity ( especially if you feel stressed out on a regular basis).
2) Keep the body well-rested–both by sleeping more at night (optimally between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am) & taking truly restful breaks during the day. Sleep helps the body repair and rejuvenate. Chronically not getting enough rest is a true set up for not only getting sick but also to being less able to concentrate and stay focused, access your creativity and remaining in control of your emotional reactions.
2) Eat whole and organic foods--processed foods have less of the nutrients our bodies need and the increase in toxins they require the body to have to remove. First, the body can be overly stressed by having less “good fuel” with which to work. Secondly, the need to remove toxins (the chemicals used in processing) means that less resources are available to protect against invading germs. Your best bet is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables (5 servings a day), especially of ones you like.