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How to Boost Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz

5 min read

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Cold weather can be a relief from the sweltering heat of summer in Pakistan. As winter approaches, it can get chilly and make people more susceptible to diseases, like colds and flu. Being sick often can affect your productivity and make it difficult for you to function.

Going to work sick may transmit the disease to your co-workers, which is counterproductive. So, avoid going to work when you are not well, as it can spread the disease. If you have some important meeting or work, you should consider working from home when you are ill. The best way to stay away from cold and flu is by strengthening immunity.

A strong immune system can help your body fight against infections and other diseases. People with low immunity are more likely to get sick often. Recovery from infectious diseases can be difficult for people with compromised immunity and can be fatal too.

Work on building your immunity because as the winter approaches, the cold weather and smog can cause health problems, especially respiratory issues. If you are suffering from a cold or flu that is not getting better, consult a General Physician in Lahore to get treatment. 

Ways to boost immunity

1. Eat immunity-boosting foods

Consuming a healthy diet is vital to keep you fit and healthy. Foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants can be beneficial in improving your immunity. Antioxidants can fight against free radicals in the body by reducing inflammation. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and olive oil, can also help with inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to free radicals can lead to many diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

The fiber in foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts increases healthy bacteria in your gut and improves gut health. Good gut health is vital for fending off diseases entering your digestive system. Moreover, vitamin C can lower the chances of cold and flu. A balanced diet with a mix of all these properties can strengthen immunity. Foods that can strengthen the immune system include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Green tea
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oily fish

2. Take probiotics

Probiotics are helpful in providing healthy gut bacteria to your body. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, salami, and sourdough, contain probiotics, and add such foods to your daily meals. These foods can increase the ratio of good bacteria in your gut and help build stronger immunity. You can also take probiotics in the form of supplements. 

3. Get sufficient sleep

Sleep is essential for the proper functioning of your body. When you sleep less than your body requires, your body is not able to produce the antibodies that can help fight infection. Sleep for seven to nine hours a day to keep your immunity strong. Sleep deprivation can increase your chances of getting sick from viral and infectious diseases. It may also raise stress hormones and cause inflammation in your body. 

4. Stay physically active

Regular exercise or even a thirty-minute walk can help in preventing diseases. It also reduces stress which makes it advantageous for your immunity, as high-stress levels may make it easier for you to catch a virus or flu. It also allows a smooth blood flow, allowing immune cells to grow and reach all parts of your body. While being physically active can save you from diseases, so do not overdo it. Exercising too much can hurt your immune system.

5. Learn stress management

Poor mental health can lead to many health issues. Stress is a contributing factor to many illnesses, and it can weaken your immune system. It can lead to rapid weight loss, weight gain, sleep disturbances, and many other issues that may adversely affect your immunity. Due to busy schedules, stress has become a part of our routine.

Different stressful situations may affect people differently. Learn to identify what stresses you out and find ways to deal with it. If you face a lot of stress in your routine, you may want to talk to a therapist to deal with it. You can also try yoga or meditation to calm you down. 

6. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is crucial to your overall health. It helps regulate many bodily functions. Dehydration can lead to health problems, such as digestion, focus, kidney function, and mood swings. It can also increase the risk of getting ill. It can also aid in lessening inflammation and protecting you from various diseases.

Drink at least the amount of water that your body requires daily. You can also consume tea and other beverages to keep yourself hydrated. Ensure that you control your intake of sweet drinks, including fruit juices, to avoid problems due to a high sugar intake. 

7. Quit unhealthy habits

Some habits, such as smoking and drinking, can adversely impact your health. Smoking has many drawbacks to your health and can lead to cancer. Similarly, drinking alcohol in excess can damage your liver and lower your immunity. Letting go of these habits can bolster your immunity. Let go of other practices that may damage your health, such as a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet. 

8. Improve gut health

Recent research shows that a massive part of your immune system is in your gut. A healthy gut can fend off diseases and make your immunity stronger. Enhancing your gut health is essential for stronger immunity. To keep your gut healthy, eat whole or fermented foods and try to eliminate processed foods and sugar from your diet. The goal is to increase good bacteria compared to unhealthy gut bacteria. 

9. Take vitamins

Vitamin deficiency can lead to weak immunity. Talk to your doctor to know which vitamin supplements you should take. Everyone is different and depends on the need of your body. You can also include vitamin-rich foods in your diet. 

Preventing cold and flu

Apart from jacking up your immunity, take preventative measures to defend yourself against illnesses common in cold weather. Most of these viral diseases are easily transmissible. Following are a few steps that you can take to prevent them. 

1. Wash your hands 

The importance of good hand hygiene has been highlighted often in recent years due to the spread of Covid. Shaking hands, touching money, cleaning, and many other activities done by hand can result in bacteria and germs on your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly after any such task.

You should wash your hands with soap for at least twenty seconds to fully clean them. Avoid touching your face and mouth if your hands are dirty. Use a disinfectant 

2. Keep surfaces clean

People come in contact with germs more than they think. Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and putting your hands on your mouth or face can lead to illness. Your phone, tablet, and computer also need regular cleaning with a disinfectant so that you can stay away from diseases. 

3. Increase ventilation

Indoor air may not be as clean as you think. Research suggests that it might be worse than the outside. Opening windows and doors can reduce the risk of easily transmissible diseases through coughing or sneezing. Poor ventilation allows the accumulation of disease-ridden aerosols.

To make ventilation better inside your house, open windows and doors to allow a cross breeze. However, with the heavy smog during winters in Pakistan, you may be hesitant to open and let the outside air in. Consider buying an air purifier to clear the air inside.

4. Get vaccinated

Vaccines can protect from diseases like flu and COVID. Getting vaccinated can keep you away from sicknesses. Annual vaccinations are essential for your health. Talk to your healthcare provider regarding the vaccines that you require. 

5. Avoid contact with ill people

You may feel the urge to visit a friend or relative who is down with a cold and flu, but that is not a good idea. Close contact with people suffering from a contagious disease can make you sick too. 


The changing weather has brought about smog and chilly weather. Along with the many other dangers of smog, it can cause respiratory diseases. Smog and the winter season make people more prone to catch ailments, especially colds and flu. Taking precautions can save you from getting sick. One of the top ways to defend yourself from most illnesses is by improving your immunity.

You can build strong immunity in many ways. A healthy lifestyle is an effective way to support immune health. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and quitting damaging habits can improve your immune system. Add immunity-enhancing foods to your diet. Check for any vitamin deficiencies and take supplements if needed.

For better immunity, manage stress by talking to a therapist or through stress-alleviating techniques, such as yoga. Take precautions to stay away from diseases. Good hygiene and vaccinations can protect you from colds and flu. 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz
Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz - Author Dr. Bakht Aziz is a highly acclaimed ENT specialist, who has a massive reputation in the field of medical consultancy. He is considered among the best ENT Specialists & Surgeons in Lahore.

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