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Use Your Immune System to Prevent Flu

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What Vaccines Are Recommended to Fight Disease? continued...

The CDC says seniors need vaccines against pneumococcus -- pneumonia -- and the flu, as do all adults whose immune system may be impaired by diseases such as HIV or cancer. In fact, the flu shot is recommended for almost all children and adults who want to reduce the risk of becoming ill with the flu or of transmitting influenza to others. (Babies under six months do not get a flu shot.)

In addition, everyone needs to update their tetanus vaccine once every 10 years, while those who work in high-risk jobs (like hospital workers) need vaccines for hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends all children ages 11 to 12 get a vaccine for meningitis with a booster at ages 16 to 18. This vaccine is also recommended for people at elevated risk of getting the disease, such as travelers to countries with high rates of meningococcal disease.

What Causes the Immune System to Weaken?

Your immune system can lose some of its protective effects when your body is constantly battling negative health habits such as a poor diet, little sleep, and too much stress. As such, it's not surprising that doctors frequently recommend certain lifestyle changes as a way to optimize the function of your immune system.

What's the Most Important Lifestyle Change to Boost Immunity?

Reduce stress. A steady cascade of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, negatively impacts the body's ability to stay well. Findings show that reducing levels of stress through relaxation techniques, daily exercise, and coping skills helps your body maintain physical and emotional health.

What Else Can I Do to Boost Immunity?

To boost immunity, get plenty of sleep -- every night. Prolonged sleep deprivation wears down immune protection while getting adequate rest each night helps to boost your defenses. Try to aim for seven to eight hours sleep for the best immune function.

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