Why summer isn't the time to stop worrying about immune health

·Lifestyle Reporter
·3-min read

It’s no secret that Aussies love summer. The long cold is over, flu season is behind us, and it’s time to get out in the sun with friends and family.

However, health experts warn that we still need to look after our immune health during summer.

Happy family running on the beach in the sunset.
Experts are reminding Aussies not to neglect their immune health this summer. Photo: Getty

“Your immune system is the most important factor in the body to avoid any kind of sickness, Dr Sam Hay, Director of Your Doctors, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle.

“That’s why it’s even more important to keep our immune systems in top shape so that we can get back out and enjoy the season together.

“Summer is all about spending time with family and friends outside in the sunshine. And, most people stop actively taking steps to take care of their immune health as soon as the weather starts to warm up, and flu season is over, however it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods as even a mild cold can put you out of action and stuck indoors while you recover.”

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woman with runny nose holding napkin near face, standing on yellow copy space background
Most people stop actively taking steps to take care of their immune health as soon as the weather starts to warm up. Photo: Getty

Aussies report it's taking longer to recover from illnesses

The pandemic has enforced certain protective health measures such as wearing face masks and washing and sanitising our hands regularly, however new research by Australian Mushrooms has found that almost half (45%) of Aussies report that it’s taking them longer to bounce back from illness, with 70 per cent saying it takes them 1-2 days longer to bounce back than it did before the pandemic.

The research also found that 1 in 4 Australians are not aware of ways to support a healthy immune system.

“It seems that Aussies are feeling out of their depth when it comes to their immune health," says Dr Sam.

Dr Sam Hay spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about the importance of caring for your immune health throughout summer. Source: Dr Sam Hay
Dr Sam Hay spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about the importance of caring for your immune health throughout summer. Source: Dr Sam Hay

"The good news is that our immune system already does a remarkable job of defending us against disease-causing microorganisms. As you can tell from the term ‘system’ it’s not a single identity so to function well it requires balance and harmony.

"There are some general changes that Aussies can easily incorporate into their daily lives to help with immune health."

Here, Dr Sam shares his top tips for supporting your immune health this summer.

Eat for health

"One of the easiest ways to support your immunity is by maintaining a healthy diet. Mushrooms are one of my favourite immune-boosting foods as they contain many of the nutrients that are important to support a healthy immune system, such as vitamin D, selenium, copper and folate," he says.

Hand holding up a mushroom on a skewer.
"One of the easiest ways to support your immunity is by maintaining a healthy diet."

Get enough sleep

"I always recommend getting your eight hours in. We know we all need sleep, but sleep provides essential support to our immune systems and our immune system lowers during periods of poor or inadequate sleep."

Watch your alcohol intake

"Especially as we head into the festive season, try to keep your alcohol intake moderate. Too much alcohol can impact your immune system and potentially make you more susceptible to infection."

Practise good hygiene

"Finally, we’ve all heard it over the past two years, but taking steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and maintaining good hygiene, is important for strengthening your immune system."

Person washing hands.
Look after your immune system with good hygiene practises such as regular hand-washing.
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