How to strengthen your immune system this winter travel season

How to strengthen your immune system this winter travel season

Winter is well and truly here… and with that comes the lurking lurgies!

Concerningly, according to recent reports, Australia had 100 times as many influenza cases in the first few months of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

And with a fifth COVID-wave in full swing, now is the time to naturally boost and strengthen your immune system as much as possible.

Building natural immunity as we head into winter is crucial, not only to battle the germs flying around at work or the shops, but also from the nasty lurgies that linger when we travel.

Airports, hotel rooms, tourist attractions and plane cabins are all germ magnets – the plastic trays at security checkpoints are crawling with more germs than toilet flush buttons.

This is why boosting our immunity is key.

Our ability to recover from and withstand disease is largely due to how well our immune system is functioning.

With overseas and domestic travel back in full swing and planeloads of Aussies heading abroad for a European summer for the first time since the pandemic, we need to spring to our own defence when it comes to warding off bacteria and infections.

What does this mean for frequent travellers?

It’s a sobering reality when landing at your destination and, aside from the jetlag, feeling like you’re coming down with something.

Since the COVID pandemic reared its ugly head, we have all become super aware of our physical hygiene and protecting the first line of defence, our skin.

While, as a practitioner, I am delighted the general public is washing their hands more frequently, I often remind my patients that developing strong immunity and supporting all our body’s lines of defence – not just at surface level – is the most effective way to avoid the lurking lurgies.

We know that externally, our skin is our first line of defence, but what many of us don’t realise is the mucous membranes are also on the front line internally – they form a barrier preventing the pathogens from entering the body through the gut and digestive tract.

Therefore, when supporting immunity, gut health is key.

I encourage my patients to keep in mind that gut health can easily be supported through ongoing good nutrition, movement, and stress-reducing techniques.

Four ways to strengthen your immune system

1. Work on your digestive health

The digestive system is one of your body’s strongest immune defenders. Research suggests that healthy levels of probiotics stimulate immune function.

You can build healthy gut bacteria levels by consuming fermented foods and coconut kefir regularly, and taking an immune-defending supplement with probiotic ingredients like Happy Healthy You’s Happy Defence.

This award-winning supplement contains a unique blend of immune-specific herbal medicines, probiotics, medicinal mushrooms, and targeted nutrients to support the health and function of the immune system.

2. Stop killing your good microbes with alcohol, coffee, sugar and processed foods

Even synthetic hormones have been shown to reduce the quantity of good bacteria along with antibiotics.

Fermented foods are a simple way to boost your good bacteria as they contain live probiotics.

3. Up your antioxidant intake

Plant-based antioxidants have a positive influence on immune function. Turmeric is the most well-known and has an anti-inflammatory effect so it’s a good one to increase in your diet.

Vegetable juice every day is one way to ensure your antioxidant levels remain high.

4. Herbal medicines

These are excellent for immune support and can act as immune-modulating, anti-bacterial and antiviral support while keeping the rest of the body’s biome intact and strengthening the lines of defence.


For further information or advice, connect with Tahlia via the Happy Healthy You community groups or listen in to the Happy Healthy You Podcast.  

Tahlia Thomas

This article was written by Tahlia Thomas, an Integrative Nutritionist with a BHSc in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine who specialises in GIT function and women’s health.

She is a women’s health coach and nutritionist for Happy Healthy You, an Australian-based health and lifestyle company, established by Olympian Lisa Curry and Naturopath, Women’s Hormonal Specialist and Author Jeff Butterworth, to provide women with information, products, and natural alternatives to hormonal imbalance.

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