Senior Health Alert: 10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Boost Your Immune System

A strong immune system is essential for fighting off the germs and viruses that make you sick. Your immune system will naturally weaken as you get older. Therefore, looking for ways to boost your immune system becomes even more important as you age. When you have a weakened immune system, the flu becomes more dangerous. Your immune system cannot fight off viruses as well as it once did, and you are left more vulnerable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state, “In recent years, it’s estimated that between 70% - 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years old and older. Between 50% - 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.” (1) Finding ways to boost your immune system as you age can help you protect yourself from viruses and help your body fight them off if you do happen to catch one.

10 Senior Health Tips to Boost Your Immune System


1. Get the Flu Vaccine

 The CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months old and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year. (2) Vaccines teach your immune system to fight off diseases. If you happen to catch the flu virus after you’ve received the vaccine, your body will already have had experience fighting it off. Then you will have a better chance of successfully fighting it off again.

A flu vaccination can be beneficial to many people, however, there are a few reasons why you may want to skip getting a vaccine. If you are severely allergic to the ingredients in vaccines, have not been feeling well, or have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, the CDC recommends seeking advice from your health care provider before receiving a flu shot. (3)

When you go to get your flu shot, be sure to wear an Alert1 mobile medical alert device for seniors. This way, if you have a reaction to your shot or need medical attention, you can instantly connect with an emergency response agent who can help you. When you press the alarm button, you can hear and speak to a certified emergency response agent via the 2-way speaker built into your on-the-go emergency button alarm. If you have an in-home medical alert unit, you will speak to the agent through the home base.

You may also want to consider upgrading to a mobile fall detection device for some extra protection. The GPS within the device can help the emergency response agent pinpoint your location, so that they know exactly where to send help. This is especially useful if you do not know your location or if you become confused. Fall detection devices also include a built-in sensor that can automatically call for help if it registers a fall. This is useful if you become injured and cannot press the alert button, or if you have a condition such as dementia, that may prevent you from pressing the alarm button.

2. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is a great senior health solution to boost your immune system naturally. Some good immune boosting foods include: (4)

  • Bell Peppers (Vitamin C)
  • Broccoli (Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C)
  • Tuna (Vitamin B6)
  • Meats (Vitamin B6)
  • Beef Liver (Vitamin B12)
  • Sweet Potatoes (Good Carbohydrates, Fiber, Vitamin A)
  • Spinach (Vitamin A)
  • Carrots (Vitamin A)
  • Eggs (Vitamin A)
  • Almonds (Vitamin E)
  • Sunflower Seeds (Vitamin E)
  • Granola (Vitamin E)
  • Oysters (Zinc)
  • Lobster (Zinc)
  • Crab (Zinc)
  • Shrimp (Zinc)
  • Mushrooms (Copper)
  • Garlic (Allicin)
  • Turmeric (Curcumin)

All these foods include essential nutrients that your body uses for self-protection as well as to make antibodies to fight off viruses.

3. Exercise and Stay Active

Exercising can strengthen the antibodies your body creates to fight off viruses. It also helps increase blood flow, reduce stress, and decrease inflammation. This helps the antibodies perform efficiently. By exercising regularly, you can help boost your immune system.

If you want to ensure your safety while you exercise, consider getting an Alert1 on-the-go medical alert wrist watch. This is a lightweight and easy-to-use emergency response solution and the perfect tool to have during an exercise routine. If you happen to fall or experience a medical emergency while exercising, you can simply hold down the button on the side to quickly contact an emergency response agent at any time you need, 24/7/365.

The watch also includes a weather app to help you plan out your day and a pedometer so that you can track your steps. You can create step goals for each day to keep yourself active and then you can use your watch to track if you are meeting those goals.

4. Relax and De-Stress

Stress reduces the body’s ability to fight off antigens or toxins. When this happens, you are left more susceptible to viruses. If you feel stressed, look for ways to manage it so that you can keep your immune system strong. Some good relaxation techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Deep Breathing
  • Listening to Calming Music
  • Socializing
  • Warm Baths
  • Exercise

5. Sleep Well

Sleep provides your body with the chance to rest, recover, and perform other functions that keep your mind and body healthy. According to UC Health, “When we sleep, our bodies produce proteins called cytokines, which target infection and inflammation, creating an immune response.” (5) If you don’t get enough sleep, it can hinder your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. Be sure to get sufficient rest. Try to go to bed at the same time every night to get yourself into a routine.

6. Quit Smoking

Smoking can have many negative effects on various aspects of your health including your immune system. states, “Many of the chemical compounds found in cigarette smoke can interfere with the immune system, causing it to work less effectively in the body’s fight against disease and infection and giving both the opportunity to progress further than it may have in a body with a healthy immune system.” (6) By avoiding smoking, seniors can improve their overall health and wellness in a variety of ways. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of diseases, improves blood circulation, improves your taste and smell, helps you feel better, and even saves you money.

7. Avoid Drinking Too Much

Family physician Dr. Alex Mroszczyk-McDonald notes, “Research has shown that high doses of alcohol (around 14 drinks per week or more than five to six drinks at a time) does directly suppress the immune system, and alcohol abuse is associated with increased risk of infectious diseases.” (7) Drinking impairs the immune cells’ ability to function properly and is linked to a variety of other diseases and conditions such as heart problems, digestive problems, liver disease, and stroke. Therefore, it is best to avoid alcohol.

8. Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time outside allows you to take in vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for the immune system as it “enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells that are important parts of your immune defense.” (8) Spend some time outdoors regularly to soak in some vitamin D, get some fresh air, and boost your mood.

A medical alert necklace or bracelet for the elderly is a great tool to have when spending time outdoors. If uneven terrain or other elements cause you to fall, you can instantly contact an emergency response agent for help whenever you need. You don’t have to worry about your family or friends being available to answer their phones. An emergency response agent is standing by 24/7/365. There is also no need to enter a phone number or search for contacts on your phone; you simply press a single button to talk to an emergency response agent and get the help you need.

9. Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is a quick and easy way to protect yourself from diseases and germs. It is especially important to wash your hands before eating or after using the restroom. Bacteria and viruses are transferred through contact. Therefore, if you touch something with a germ on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, you can infect yourself.

Regularly washing your hands will help prevent you from infecting yourself with germs and viruses. You will want to be extra diligent at washing your hands after visiting public places.

10. Limit Exposure to Chemicals

Some toxic chemicals can also affect the immune system as they can impair the development, functions, and lifespan of immune cells. Toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates that can harm the immune system. They can be found in: (9)

  • Plastics labeled with the #3 or #7 recycling mark
  • Food and drink can linings
  • Dental sealants
  • Receipt paper
  • Personal products such as shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, etc.
  • Cosmetics, fragrances, perfumes, and air fresheners

Protect Yourself by Boosting Your Immune System

It is important to know when your immune system may be compromised as well as to know what precautions to take to keep yourself healthy as you age. Your ability to keep your immune system strong and avoid infecting yourself with germs can significantly affect your overall wellness. Be sure to pay attention to when you start to experience virus symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, fatigue, trouble breathing, aches, pain, and sore throat. If you start feeling sick, take precautions to boost your immune system. If your symptoms get worse, visit your doctor or senior health advisor for professional care.



1,2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. n.d. Who Is at Higher Risk of Flu Complications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu & People 65 Years and Older.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. n.d. Who Needs a Flu Vaccine?. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Who Should and Who Should NOT Get a Flu Vaccine.

4 Respiratory Therapy Zone staff. Oct. 2020. Food for the Immune System. Respiratory Therapy Zone. Top 10 Foods to Boost Your Immune System (and Kill Viruses).

5 UC Health staff. April. 2020. COVID-19 Resources. UC Health. Creating Better Sleep Habits to Strengthen Immunity.

6 staff. n.d. Nicorette Support Hub. Smoking and the Immune System.

7 Ries, Julia. April. 2020. Health News. Healthline. How Alcohol Can Affect Your Immune System.

8 Kabala, Jillian, MS, RD. Oct. 2020. Nutrition. Healthline. Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of COVID-19?

9 Million Marker staff. May. 2020. Can Toxic Chemicals Harm Your Immune System? Million Marker. Can Toxic Chemicals Harm Your Immune System?