When the influenza virus is going the rounds and infecting everyone in 41 states, that is not good. Flu shots are recommended to everyone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But boosting one's immune system is the best way to protect one's self from getting sick.

Knowing how to boost the immune system is more important than ever. Just because no one is sick, is not a comfort that nothing is amiss. The next step to having a strong immune system is keeping it that way. A way to do it is to increase, and optimize functions of immunity. Here are a few suggestions on how to do it:

1. Stress is a killer, and it weakens the immune system, so sleep is important to keep the resistance up. If individuals have less sleep and stress-related jobs, it will cause an increase of cortisol hormones which are suppressants for immunity functions.

2. Tobacco seriously degrades the immune system and other respiratory ailments that are not safe. It increase risk from bronchitis and pneumonia, also ear infection that afflicts children. Smoking tobacco should be discouraged for personal and communal health reasons too.

 3. Alcohol consumption is not good, and there are serious, life-threatening effects. It lessens the functions of the immune system and gets a really good chance of lung infections too.

4. Another alternative to keep immunity at a peak is eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, that are natural nutrients that benefit the immune system. Researches said older adults taking fruits and veggies have better anti-body reactions to the Pneumovax vaccine (anti- Streptococcus pneumonia).

5. Taking probiotics that are supplements which lessens problems like respiratory and gastrointestinal maladies. Another is fermented milk that helps protect from respiratory problems in kids and adults too.

 6. Getting vitamin D by exposing skin to sunlight, for about 10-15 minutes will get enough of vitamin D. In 2010, kids who get 1200 IU of Vit D, had less chance of getting influenza. This shows the benefits of vitamin D as insurance against these illnesses. There are also vitamins that help keep the immune system strong, not Vit D.

7. Taking garlic as an immunity booster and as an antimicrobial substance will benefit everyone. When cooking, add it to food. Consume it when it is not hot to get more benefits for the health.

8. Mushrooms are considered as natural immunity boosters that help women who have breast cancer. These mushrooms are shiitake and maitake that should be eaten. These are natural and will be safer to take.

9. Another option is immune-supportive herbs that are beneficial for those taking it. These are eleuthero, Asian ginseng, American Ginseng, and astralagus which are taken in a variety of ways that helps recurrent infections.

10. One good herbal remedy is echinacea tincture which is good when respiratory viruses are causing sickness. This will give a jumpstart the immune system to get well better.

a. A pint jar, 1 root of Echinacea purpurearoot helps improve immunity and lessens colds that are discomfiting. Pour in 1.5 cups of vodka and stir. Add more vodka over the ground root. Shake it, and in four weeks just strain through a cheesecloth.

 b. When sniffling, have ½ teaspoons of tincture in diluted water (every two hours when awake). Reduce the dosage as the cold lessens.