It can be hard to avoid germs and stay healthy when traveling and spending time with family over the holidays. Some ways I recommend for boosting your immune system and keeping yourself and loved ones safe are getting your annual flu shot, as well as balancing holiday food with healthy food, and taking your daily vitamins. Incorporating exercise into all the holiday family fun will also help boost your immune system!
Schedule Your Annual Flu Shot
Getting your annual flu shot should be at the top of your list when protecting your immune system from viruses this cold and flu season. There are around a billion cases of seasonal influenza annually, and as Covid continues to circulate after the pandemic, it is best to be proactive and get you and your family vaccinated. As the flu shot reduces morbidity and mortality, high risk individuals, such as the elderly and those with diabetes and pre-existing health issues, should consider getting vaccinated more than their counterparts. It’s not too late to receive a flu shot. Cold and flu season is fast accelerating as the holidays and colder months approach, and being prepared with your flu shot is the best way to protect you and your family from illnesses.
Balance decadent holiday foods with healthier options:
Indulge during the holidays! Whichever holiday you celebrate, food is a way to connect with those we love and share our love with them. Everyone gathers to eat homemade food and talk about good times and memories, so make sure you let yourself revel in it all.
However, you can balance decadent holiday foods with healthier options by opting for the fruit and vegetables rather than mac and cheese, for example. Holiday party invites are circulating from friends and family, as well as for office parties, and there will surely be food and cocktails at these events. If you decide to attend them all, perhaps only indulge at some of them and not all of them, or drink plenty of water in between cocktails.There's nothing wrong with treating yourself!
Take Your Vitamins Daily
Vitamins will also protect your immune system against illnesses this season, and build up resistance to infections that may enter your body. As a doctor, I like to make sure my patients know that there are other ways to take vitamins besides swallowing a pill — and they can be even more effective. Liquid vitamins can reach your bloodstream faster and be used more efficiently by your body. One way to get liquid vitamins is through a spray — like Better & Better’s new Balance Oral Spray. As a surgeon and an oral care practitioner, I like this prebiotic spray because it’s great for your mouth and your whole body heath. With a few sprays per day, it restores balance to your oral microbiome, and fuels your body with a daily dose of six key vitamins and minerals.
The vitamin-packed spray balances your oral microbiome, fighting dry mouth, balancing your oral pH, and protecting against cavities, canker sores, and gum disease. It also freshens breath while you’re on the go throughout the day. In the spray, the six key vitamins and minerals include a combination of vitamins C, D3, E, B6, B12 and zinc, as well as xylitol and oral prebiotics.
Make Exercise Part of Your Family Fun
Lastly, it's difficult to maintain your fitness routine while the kids are out of school for holiday break, and kids, too, aren't exercising as much as they might be at school. If you’re away from home, too, it can be hard to maintain the regimen you work so hard to keep. You can do home workouts instead by looking them up online or by using an app. With these workouts, you don’t need a program or gym — all you need is your body to move around at families’ houses, or wherever you’re traveling to.
Getting the kids involved in exercises could include going outside to engage in snowboarding or sledding, or simply going on a nature walk to look at decorations and play in the snow. If you work remotely, then you probably know how hard it can be to incorporate a fitness regimen, whether it's the holidays or not. Again, using an app or home workout video on your lunch break or in between work is a great way to keep up a routine. If the kids are home while you're working remotely, get them involved in your workout and make it a game to see who can demonstrate the best pose or finish first!
The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, but it's also a time when illnesses are taking their course. That's why it is best to defend yourself by getting your flu shot while also maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. Getting your daily dose of vitamins to protect your immune system is critical, and can be as easy as spraying a vitamin spray, like Better & Better’s Balance, throughout the day. And remember: with all those parties you’ll be attending, there will be many opportunities to indulge, so do it! Just me sure to take care of yourself as well.
Dr. Jaclyn Tomsic, MD, DMD, FACS, is a board-certified Oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMF) based out of Cleveland, OH. OMF involves extensive dental and medical education and training to achieve surgical expertise and an unparalleled understanding of esthetics.