With the holidays quickly approaching people are busy and may not be eating the best or getting enough sleep at night. Both can have an impact on your immune system, but there are some things you can do to help boost your immune system and stay healthy this holiday season.
We checked in with a doctor, a pharmacist and a natural foods expert to find out some advice on staying healthy. All have different suggestions for getting the most out of your immune system.
Pharmacist Dera Stalnaker says what you eat has a great impact on fighting off coughs and colds. “One of the things that is really important and that people don't realize is the majority of immune system is located in your gut," she told us.
Stalnaker recommends healthy probiotics and items high in vitamin C including oranges and red, orange and yellow bell peppers.
Stalnaker adds it's a good idea to avoid sugar, even though that may be hard during the holidays. She says sugar has a negative impact on your body's immune system so oranges are a better option than orange juice.
Some natural items are sold to help boost your ability to fight off colds. Black elderberry syrup received high praise from two of our experts. You can buy it at specialty pharmacies and health food stores.
New Bristol Health Food Store owner Nina Sakeller says natural herbs may also be an option. “You could do Goldenseal and Echinacea. They’re tried and true with golden seal being a natural antibiotic," she said.
You could always try herbal tea, especially if you have a sore throat. "The herbed tea helps sooth and heals. Some teas are for day and some are for evening because they contain herbs that help relax," adds Sakeller.
The warm tea could also help relieve a sore throat. According to Dr. Jared Hess, “The warmth is what brings blood into those swollen tissues and it helps it heal itself."
And although it may not be a tasty option Dr. Hess says to gargle warm salt water. “It does taste terrible, but it decreases inflammation. Salt draws water to it, so it draws some inflammation away from the tissue and throat."
If you have a cough, cold or sore throat that doesn't clear up in five to seven days, Dr. Hess says it's a good idea to see your physician because what starts as a virus can turn into an infection like bronchitis, pneumonia or a sinus infection.