Despite January coming to a close, rates of influenza are still elevated across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forty-seven states reported widespread flu activity for the week of January 13 – 19, and 6191 hospitalizations have occurred from flu since October 2012. Although young children, those over 65 years, and the immune-suppressed are at highest risk for infection, everyone seems to be sick. Partly because I work with college students, a population infamous for stress and poor diet, I have been sick more this year than any previous year!
So how do you prevent getting sick or getting sick again? Start by getting plenty of rest; aim for 7-8 hours of sleep daily. Take time to relax; when stress is high, your immune system suffers. Take at least 10 minutes daily to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and forget about work. Exercise also reduces stress and bolsters the immune system! Finally, eat well, especially by consuming plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables that build and protect the immune system. Unfortunately, once you’re sick, no amount of nutrition will get you better. Start today; add an extra piece of fruit as a snack and kick being sick.