CLEVELAND, Oh. (CLEVELAND CLINIC) – It’s always a good idea to do what you can to stay healthy during cold and flu season – especially in the midst of a pandemic.

Donald Ford, MD, a family medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic, said adopting a healthy lifestyle is a natural way to boost the immune system.

“The most important thing is to maintain your own health as much as you can,” he said. “Whether you’ve got medical conditions that need treatment, make sure that you’re taking your medicines as prescribed by your doctor, make sure that you’re eating well, make sure above all that you’re getting plenty of rest.”

Dr. Ford said good sleep habits will benefit the immune system.

He adds that people who don’t get enough sleep are often more likely to get sick.

Experts recommend adults get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Reducing stress can help boost immunity as well, because stress weakens the immune system.

And if you’re wondering about vitamins and supplements, the jury is still out.

According to Dr. Ford, there aren’t any great scientific studies that demonstrate a benefit when it comes vitamins and immunity. But, healthy nutrition is a different story.

“What we put into our bodies is essential for good health,” said Dr. Ford. “And living well, eating well, eating things that are rich in vitamins and minerals is really critical to good health in the long run.”

Dr. Ford reminds us it’s best to prevent illness in the first place, so your body doesn’t ever need to fight it off.

Washing your hands is always important, and with COVID-19 in the mix, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, and social distancing is critical.

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