Wondering how to fight off sickness and maximize your resilience when seasons change?
You may have realized that you have a tendency to get sicker during certain seasons over others. There’s a valid reason that this happens, and it has to do with your immune system.
Why do we get sick when seasons change?
When the seasons change, so does your immune system response. Just as your body becomes more vulnerable to germs during certain seasons, it can also be bolstered in different ways according to the time of year that you’re in.
Many people don’t have a specific strategy for seasonal immune health. They merely adopt a regimen of vitamins and everyday healthy lifestyle habits they feel will keep them from getting sick.
But if you want to learn how to fight off sickness and maximize your ability to ward off illness any time of the year, you can target some season-specific changes to your routine that will help your body fight off infection year-round.
Learn how to fight off sickness & stay healthy during season change!
Your immune system changes with the seasons! Understanding how to fight off sickness starts with knowing that basic fact.
When the winter chill sets in, you may have heard people talking about how they have more body aches and health issues. Certain health problems, such as arthritis, act up more in the winter months than in the warmer spring or summer ones.
That’s because when the seasons change, your immune system does too – at a cellular level. This can be particularly hard on certain diseases that are autoimmune in nature. But even if you don’t have any health problems at the moment, you may still find yourself struggling during seasonal changes.
That’s because the parts that make up your immune system are busier at different degrees when it’s the summer months versus when the season changes to winter. In the summer, these parts of the immune system work more aggressively in the way that they function.
This activity helps to squash reactive symptoms that stem from conditions such as arthritis as well as health issues such as the common cold. But when winter hits, the immune system doesn’t work as aggressively.
It’s much easier for an inflammation to hit and get the upper hand. This is why, when you’re exposed to an illness, you’re more likely to get it in the wintertime. You can easily end up with cold or flu symptoms or catch whatever is going around at that time.
Your immune system will react to the changes in the season – specifically to the longer days you get in the summer over the darker, more dreary days you’ll find in winter. All of this is tied in with your body’s natural clock.
How does the immune system work – simple explanation?
Your immune system is made up of five basic parts and then several smaller ones. One part is your lymph nodes. These work like a strainer. It’s their job to catch germs that are trying to allow an illness to hit you.
They’re supposed to trap these germs within the system. Once they do that, they then prod the white blood cells to go to battle against those germs. This battle can cause your lymph nodes to swell during times of inflammation or illness.
A second part of your immune system are your white blood cells. These work to find and kill off the germs that invade your body to make you ill. If you have a blood test that shows your white blood cell count is high, it means your body is trying to fight something off.
Your tonsils are a third part of your immune system. These act as gatekeepers in your throat to keep germs from causing you to get sick. As soon as they trap a virus, the tonsils immediately get to work to make antibodies that will work against that virus.
The fourth part of your immune system is your spleen. This is the housing unit for your white blood cells and it also acts as a clearing house for your blood. The fifth part that works to keep you healthy is your bone marrow.
Your bone marrow’s main job is to create red and white blood cells and keep them circulating in your body to work to prevent illness. All of these systems work together to form your overall immune health – but you have to play your part in allowing them to work efficiently, too.
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How can I make my immune system stronger?
Stock up on UV rays whenever possible!
The changes that happen in your immune system in the seasons have a lot to do with how many UV rays you’re exposed to. In the summertime, it’s a lot easier to get access to UV light.
This is another reason why illness is less prevalent. When the days are warm and the weather is good, you’ll find more people outside. They’ll work out in the yard, and engage in outdoor activities like swimming.
More time is spent outdoor than inside. The exact opposite happens when winter hits. The majority of people want to stay inside where it’s warm. The overcast skies and chilly weather just don’t have the same pull that the warm, sunny days have.
But that’s exactly what the body needs. To be soaking up sun. When you have exposure to UV light, it works to help boost the body’s production of vitamin D. In turn, this vitamin is what works to aid the body in being able to process other helpful nutrients and vitamins.
Plus, it works as a warning to the body’s immune system when there’s an infection or viral invader. Sunlight boosts your T cells through your vitamin D. This is why your immune system is stronger in the summer months.
It’s also why you need to make sure you get or replicate that light in the winter as well as during the other times of the year. You can do this by planning outdoor activities regardless of the season.
Just 10 Minutes Can Work Wonders
Even if the temperatures are cold, being outside for just ten minutes can give your immune system the exposure it needs to sunlight. The good news is that the sun doesn’t even have to be shining for you to get access to the UV rays.
You can engage in winter activities such as sledding, ice skating, hiking, going for a walk or even just play a game in your backyard. If you can’t have access to the outdoors to get the UV rays, then you need to use products inside that can help you.
You can use something like light therapy lamps. These lamps mirror the type of light you can find in daylight. It helps produce a similar circadian rhythm found during the summer months.
What is a good immune system booster?
You can also take supplements such as vitamin D3, which can help strengthen the immune system the same way the sun’s rays can when it’s summer. You can also use exercise to help combat the lack of sunlight in the fall and winter.
This and light therapy together can help – and not only will using light therapy help with your immune system, but it can also help if you’re prone to SAD. SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder and it’s something that’s caused due to the seasonal change and lack of light.
People who are affected by this find that they develop depression when the fall or winter season starts. Most people who have this disorder experience the depression regularly, as soon as the seasons begin to change.
The symptoms it brings on can be things such as irritability, not having any energy, trouble focusing, weight gain, insomnia and more. Usually when the seasons change back to spring and summer, the SAD symptoms go away, but do return again with fall and winter months.
Can seasonal changes cause insomnia?
You may not realize that when seasons change, so does your ability to achieve good sleep. There are physiological changes that take place. For example, as the days get lighter and longer, this affects the amount of melatonin in your body.
Less melatonin means less sleep. In the spring season, Daylight Savings Time can disrupt your sleep. The changing time can throw off your sleep schedule. You can also have trouble sleeping due to the allergies that this season often ushers in.
In the summer months, the light also causes sleep changes. A lot of people find that they develop insomnia when summer hits. That’s because, just like in spring, your melatonin levels are altered.
The amount that you have in your body lessens when it’s light out and this is what affects your circadian rhythm.
Why do I struggle to sleep in winter?
In the fall and winter, there’s not as much sunlight and people aren’t outdoors as often.
This can cause drops in the amount of vitamin D your body has. Once this level drops, the body doesn’t have as much of the neurotransmitter responsible for producing melatonin.
If the vitamin D level drops low enough, it can even bring on SAD. It’s important that you get enough sleep. When you don’t, it impairs your immune system because sleep boosts your T cells.
These are what are responsible for fighting against viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. You want to make sure that you get good sleep year ‘round, regardless of what the season is.
There are ways that you can achieve this goal in order to boost your immune system and stay healthy. You need to find a way to make sure your melatonin levels remain consistent.
One way to achieve this is by blocking out the light in your bedroom. Use light blocking shades or room darkening curtains. Don’t change your sleep schedule with the changing of the seasons.
Is it normal to sleep less in the summer?
When summer hits, some people change their sleep schedule to match it. They’ll stay up later than they normally have been. Keep your schedule consistent. Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time.
Do what you normally do even when the seasons change. If you’re used to exercising a lot during the summer, but you slack off when the season’s change, that can affect your sleep.
Keep up the same routine – even if you have to move it indoors. If there’s less sunlight, use a substitute to make sure you get the sunlight you would normally get. You can buy lamps to use a few minutes each day in your home to help.
Which food gives more immunity power?
It’s beneficial to choose the best foods to eat each season that will boost your immune system. When your immune system is strong, you’re less likely to get sick, regardless of whatever is going around.
There are plenty of great foods that can aid your immune system. During the fall, you can find an abundance of pumpkins. This food is loaded with plenty of vitamins. For example, it’s rich in vitamin A.
This vitamin is necessary to help with your body’s cellular health- including boosting the ones for your immune health. Make sure you eat plenty of squash as well. This vegetable is also loaded with vitamin A.
Plus, it contains a B vitamin, which can help fight against the winter blues. Don’t neglect eating fruit in the fall, even though some may not be as plentiful as they are in the summer.
Eat a diet that’s rich in vitamins, like kale. This is plentiful for antioxidants and other nutrients that boost immunity. Have some spinach and other leafy greens, too. These foods contain plenty of vitamins – including the important vitamin C.
These foods help signal cells in the body that fight against illnesses. Sweet potatoes are a delicious winter produce that also boost the immune system. Pomegranates are usually harvested in the fall, but can be purchased during winter months.
Look for produce that can help your immune system, such as cantaloupes, tomatoes, mushrooms (which are known to boost immune health), and carrots. Carrots contain beta carotene, which aids the immune system by trapping bacteria that attempts to enter the body and cause illness.
Eat produce that contains choline, too. Ones like cauliflower and broccoli not only boost cell function, but they’re also rich in antioxidants. These, along with produce like cabbage, can work year ‘round to help your immune system.
Bell peppers are also on that list of immune-boosting produce you want to consumer, as well. These are rich in vitamin C and can also help the immune system produce antibodies.\
Which fruit is best for immunity?
One fruit that you should have plenty of during the fall are apples. Be sure to eat the skin, too – since apples contain flavonoids that fight inflammation and boost immune health.
In the winter, many people stop eating the foods that help the immune system and that’s a mistake. There’s plenty of produce that you can choose that will help keep you healthy through the season that’s known for colds and the flu.
Pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants that can help protect you against catching a cold. They work to aid the immune system by causing it to boost the amount of antibodies it makes.
In the summer and spring, it’s a little easier to find fresh produce. You can find immunity helpers like watermelons. This fruit is loaded with lycopene, which works to lessen inflammation, especially the respiratory kind.
Is a Season of Stress Damaging Your Ability to Stay Healthy?
There’s something besides viruses and bacteria that can weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for you to stay healthy – stress. Every season brings on a different type of stress. That’s why learning how to fight off sickness when seasons change is so important.
When the fall season rolls in, it brings with it back to school and the holidays. There’s Thanksgiving and then Christmas. While these can be times of celebration, more often than not, they bring in a lot of stress.
Unmet expectations during holidays can cause stress. Many people have a picture of what they’d like the holiday to be like, but inevitably, it falls short. There can be family strife, relationship issues, or work deadlines that are tighter due to the holidays.
Why is the holiday season stressful?
Many people experience a lot of financial pressure and may need a total money makeover. It can be stressful and expensive to spend the money to travel to be with family during the holidays. On top of that, there are gifts to buy for relatives, friends and coworkers.
The demand on your time increases, too. All of a sudden, the number of commitments you have to deal with can double. It seems that there’s always something to take care of, another store to visit or a purchase to make.
You may start to feel that you’re running yourself ragged. This can easily cause stress and anxiety during the holidays. You want to enjoy them, but you’re too tired physically. If there’s drama or family strife going on, you can also end up worn out emotionally and may find yourself just wishing the holidays were over.
During these winter months with less light, some people are affected with SAD, which can make everything feel even more stressful and depressing. Other seasons bring other challenges.
What is summer stress?
During the summer when the kids are out of school, if you work full time and your kids are younger, then you have to deal with childcare issues. You may find that you’re having to pay more money for childcare.
You may have the stress of having to take kids to various activities. During the spring when school breaks roll around, you may find yourself also having to come up with childcare solutions or entertainment then, too.
You might also experience having kids underfoot all day, when you need to get stuff done, which can be stressful. When you get stressed, your body increases its cortisol production.
Can stress weaken you immune system?
Cortisol can weaken the immune system so that when an illness comes along, it’s not well enough to fight it off and you end up getting sick. In order to keep your immune system healthy, you have to find ways to cope during times of high stress.
Learn how to say no to things that would take up too much of your time and lead to stress. That may mean finding someone else to wrap the gifts, or ordering online instead of fighting the shopping crowd in person.
It may mean hiring someone to help with the kids or drive them to their destinations during the summer on some days so that you get a break or aren’t strained for time. Don’t let the holidays or seasonal changes disrupt your routine.
How can I increase my immunity power naturally?
Start taking simple steps to become financially whole. The first step is to set a budget and refuse to break it. Eat healthy, go to bed at a reasonable time and make sure that you exercise. Set realistic holiday and summer expectations as well as boundaries.
Don’t try to take on too much. You can’t do everything, so just select the things that you do enjoy doing with each season and stick to that.
When you do feel stressed, step back and take a break rather than letting it continue to build. Doing this can help ease the stress that affects your immune system.
Remember that it’s okay to not take part in situations or activities that stress you.
Learning how to fight off sickness and taking steps to boost your health should be a top priority.