Springfield health care workers point out how the holidays may impact your immune system

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 3:50 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - During the holidays, it can be easy to let our guard down when it comes to our health.

Lacy Phillips, the Executive Director of Quality and Safety at Mercy Hospital said during the holidays, people often throw caution to the wind when it comes to their wellness.

”Things that can weaken our immunity over time and make us more susceptible to COVID-19 or flu or cold,” Phillips pointed out.

She said those late night holiday parties, or drinking too much alcohol between Christmas and the New Year aren’t the only things people may be doing to make their bodies less likely to fight off infection.

”Staying out later than maybe you normally would, spending more time away from home, or maybe we’re spending more time at home and over-eating, not drinking enough water and not eating foods that are maybe as good for us because we’re indulging in those holiday treats,” Phillips said.

Neal DeWoody, infection prevention specialist with CoxHealth pointed out a couple of other things that may impact your health over the holidays.

”Stress for one decreases immune function, lack of sleep also does to a certain extent,” he said.

DeWoody said when it comes to avoiding infection this cold and flu season, a lot of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s COVID-19 tips still reign true.

”It’s masking, it’s hand washing, its social distancing,” he said. “It’s not new technology, its not new science, it’s quite old, antiquated, but proven so that’s why we stick to it.”

Phillips said this year, focusing on your immune system may mean a change of plans.

“Really taking a look at what is the best holiday plans for me and my family and maybe we don’t need to go to that big party this year that we normally would have done,” she said. “Holidays are going to look different this year as we respect and take care of our families and our community as as result of what’s happening.”

DeWoody said age also has a lot to do with immune function, it decrease as you get older. Some ways to help strengthen your immune system are getting as much exercise as possible and maintaining a balanced diet.

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