Tis’ the Season to Boost Your Immune System

We’ve talked a lot about the holiday season…remember it’s cold and flu season too. As nurses, you’ve gotten your flu shots, but there are other things you can do to make sure you are keeping your system boosted for your health and the health of your patients.

Everyone loves the holiday season. It’s full of fun, excitement and celebration. It’s the season for giving and people are spreading holiday cheer. But as nurses and medical professionals, you know that Christmas joy isn’t the only thing people are sharing this season. It’s also cold and flu time and people are spreading germs, just as much as they are their holiday joy.

As travel nurses, you are even more exposed and vulnerable during this season than most of us. Because the majority of facilities require their staff to have the flu vaccine, most of you will already be protected in that way, which is a great place to start. However, there are other important habits that can boost your immune system. Of course, we know that you know that a healthy diet, sleep, etc are important. You didn’t become nurses without learning this. However, as caretakers, you also know that sometimes it’s most difficult to care for ourselves. That’s why we wanted to remind you this season (and provide some tips and tricks) to take care of yourselves because you are worthy of the care you provide others.

Good Eats

Yes, we are about to talk to medical professionals about fruits and veggies. But it will be short and sweet, we promise. We know it’s hard to get a well-balanced diet, but it’s particularly important during the cold and flu season. Plant-based foods are filled with immunity-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene in particular. Not sure which foods to try to boost your immune system? Registerednursing.org suggests citrus fruits, blueberries, garlic, spinach, broccoli, turmeric and green tea.

Good Sleep

Our bodies can only heal and restore themselves when we are getting quality sleep. This isn’t always easy for travel nurses, particularly for those working night shifts. It’s important to pay attention to what makes it difficult for you to sleep and to address those issues. Does the quiet make it hard to rest? Get yourself a white noise machine. Light bothering you? Blackout shades are a must have for nurses sleeping during daytime hours. Find it hard to fall asleep after a stressful daytime shift? Try listening to a meditation as you fall to sleep.

An important tip for everyone is to mind the blue light you are absorbing for about two hours before you go to sleep. Blue light emits from our electronic devices. This light can actually help us become more alert and awake, which is why we want to try to decrease how much we are intaking before bed. It’s not always practical to stay electronic free for 2 hours before sleep, so we suggest investing in some blue light blocking glasses and will minimize your exposure.


Being a medical professional isn’t easy. Shifts are often exhaustive, which is why we continue to encourage you to get good sleep! But it’s also important to remember that exerting so much energy while working will also affect your hydration. For your bodies to work at their peak level, they need to be fully hydrated. Not a super fan of water? Try drinking tea or adding flavor additives.

We’ve already established you have a busy schedule so our main tip for hydration is keep a water bottle near you if possible during your shift. It will help you swerve the “out of sight, out of mind” we often experience when we are busy.

Cold Showers

Despite what we grew up thinking, exposure to cold temperatures can actually help you boost your immune system. In fact, studies have shown that cold showers can have a very positive effect. Easter Michigan University published an article that states, “When exposed to cold temperatures, the body goes through a series of responsive mechanisms and adaptations that positively impact the immune system.” So, as strange as it may seem, try some cold showers this season to help you stay healthy.

Take a Break

We know it can be hard to find the time, but please give your body and mind space to breathe away from the stress of work, home responsibilities, and whatever else weighs on your mind. Stress negatively affects the immune system, so you have to do what you can to combat that, which we know can be difficult given the nature of your work. But even 60 seconds watching your favorite funny TikTok or 3 minutes to take a few deep breaths and meditate after a stressful moment at work can help you stay healthy, mentally and physically. And you are worth the time it takes to care for yourself.

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