A report published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies reviewed how lifestyle behaviors can influence the immune system of an individual. This report was authored by Jane Hart, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
- When preparing for cold and flu season, conventional training does not teach clinicians about lifestyle behaviors.
- Instead, the discussion typically moves toward hand hygiene and avoiding crowded places and people who are sick.
- While these are important information, one of the most important doctor-patient discussions for preventing infection is to discuss lifestyle choices, especially when a patient is following a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet and living a stressful life.
- There are known risk factors related to lifestyle for colds and other viruses, flu, and pneumonia.
- These include smoking, excessive alcohol intake, obesity, a weakened immune system, chronic disease, lack of sleep, and chronic stress.
- On the contrary, people who engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors are less prone to both infections and chronic disease.
- Lifestyle behaviors that contribute to a healthy immune system include regular exercise, healthy diet, seven or more hours of sleep, avoidance of smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and learning stress management techniques.
- Many clinicians also observed that people who practice healthier lifestyle behaviors are sick less often than those who have poor lifestyle behaviors.
Overall, the report suggested that having a discussion and providing specific direction about healthy lifestyle choices is an effective way to prevent respiratory illness.
Read more studies on how adhering to a healthy lifestyle can help protect you from diseases.
Hart J. CLINICAL ROUNDUP: SELECTED TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 1 April 2019; 25(2): 116-119. DOI: 10.1089/act.2019.29215.cru