Ways to Keep Your Immune System Healthy


Noah Gilbert

Honey is a healthy, natural substance that modulates the immune system.

Edina Suljic, Staff Writer

Leaves, hot beverages, cooler weather, and sweaters. Fall is officially here. However, that also means flu season is back. And this time around, it is going to be like never before because of COVID-19. But in the midst of all of these things, it is important for everyone to have a healthy immune system. The purpose of the immune system is to fight off infections that could make you sick. Here are five steps everyone can take to keep their immune system healthy. 

1.Eating Healthy

Incorporating several nutritious foods in your diet is key. “[One should eat] fruits and vegetables, not Doritos and coke,” said school nurse Kristin Sheldahl. It is okay to eat something unhealthy once in a while, as long as you are eating mostly healthy.

While fruits and vegetables might help the immune system the most, it is necessary to eat other types of healthy foods as well. “Honey helps…modulate the immune system,” said infectious disease physician Dr.Rima El-Herte, M.D.

2.Getting Enough Sleep at Night

This is probably the hardest one of them all. Getting enough sleep. It sounds so simple but is not. Every age group has a different recommended amount of sleep that they should get each night. “[Students] do need to get enough sleep, which is 9-10 hours a night. Good luck with that,” said Sheldahl.

Among our community, several people do not receive enough sleep. “On a school night [I] probably [get] around three hours [of sleep],” Karli Goode ’23 said. 

3.Exercising Regularly

Doing something active every day, even if it is not for long, can do wonders. According to Pearl Point Nutritional Services “Leading an active lifestyle can also support your immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.”And for those of you who do not get enough sleep, exercising and being physically active will help you feel more awake and energized. 

4.Practicing Good Hygiene

Another factor of a healthy immune system is taking care of your body. It is important to wash and clean your entire body regularly since that eliminates a lot of germs. Our hands should be washed the most. “You need to wash your hands very, very frequently and I’m talking 20 times a day. Anytime you touch anything, before you touch your face, eyes, or nose, or mouth, and before you eat, and after you use the restroom—of course,” said Sheldahl.

There are also several other measures people can take to keep germs under control. As stated in health.harvard.edu, “Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, or cough into your elbow rather than your hand. Wash and bandage all cuts. Any serious cut, or animal or human bite, should be examined by a doctor. Do not pick at healing wounds or blemishes or squeeze pimples.”

5.Cutting Out Harmful Substances

“What people should do is to stay away from any factors and influences that dent or hinder the activity or the job of the immune system. By those, I mean one should stay away from alcohol [and] from smoking,” said El-Herte. There are also several other benefits from not using toxic and harmful substances like for example, reduced chances of getting cancers of any type. 

Keeping your immune system healthy is crucial, making these five steps very important to follow. There are several signs that indicate a weak immune system. “[These signs] could be frequent sinus infections, chronic diarrhea, recurrent lung infections, recurrent skin infections, unusual infections also,” said El-Herte.

In addition, people need to do things that will spare them from getting sick. One can only protect their immune system and keep it healthy, rather than enhance it in any way. Individuals can do things like washing their hands frequently, wearing a mask, and getting a flu shot.“Everyone needs an annual flu shot,” said Sheldahl. “Flu shots do not give the flu. They do not cause the fluAnd a lot of people will say ‘well I’ve never had the flu and that’s because I haven’t had a flu shot.’ But actually the opposite is true. Everyone needs an annual flu shot.”