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Have a question about your health?

Ask the Pharmacist

“Do I need to finish my medication if I already feel better?”

“How soon can I start exercising after having surgery?”

“Do I really need to take that pill on an empty stomach?”

Your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist is a healthcare professional with a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of health topics. If you have a question about your health or medication, chances are, your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist knows the answer.

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Note: We welcome general questions or topics which may be of interest to you, but any questions specific to your health or medications will not be answered and should be directed to your pharmacist or other healthcare professional.

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Click here to read the answer to our featured questionRead video transcript

Question:

What can I do to strengthen my immune system?

Answer from Express Scripts Canada Pharmacist:

Hi. I’m Fiona Choi. Your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist.

Welcome to Ask the Pharmacist.

Here is today’s question:

What can I do to strengthen my immune system?

Our immune system provides the first line of defence to keep us healthy and protect us from disease-causing microorganisms like viruses and bacteria.

With coronavirus in our communities and the traditional season of flus and colds just around the corner, many Canadians are wondering if there are things they can do to boost their immune system and help it respond more effectively to potential threats.

In fact, there are many things we can do to try and enhance our immune response. Making healthy lifestyle choices – by eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping well, managing our stress and taking precautions to avoid infection – are simple but powerful ways to try and help bolster our immune system.

In terms of diet, it’s important to choose healthy foods that provide your body with the energy and nutrients it needs. A diet lacking in one or more nutrients can impair the production and activity of immune cells. Your digestive track is a major site of immune activity and the production of antimicrobial proteins. So a diet containing probiotic and prebiotic foods may benefit your digestive track. Try to avoid processed foods and aim for a balanced diet that regularly incorporates whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Doing what you can to maintain a healthy weight is also important. Making regular exercise a habit may be one of the best things you can do to control your weight – as well as to improve your cardiovascular health and lower your blood pressure. However, always be sure to consult with your physician in advance if you may have any underlying conditions that could impact your ability to safely exercise.

Our immune system is also affected by sleep, which is a time of restoration for the body. Sleep is associated with a reduced infection risk, and can improve infection outcome and vaccination responses. Try to aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night consistently.

The health of our mind may also affect the health of our body, and we know that chronic stress can take a toll on our physical health. That’s why it’s important to take the time to care for yourself and do the things that help you feel more resilient. Going for walks, reading, pursuing your hobbies, and reaching out to loved ones through phone or video calls may also all be things we should try to integrate into our daily schedules. They can make a difference!

Finally, all of the guidelines we’ve been following to protect ourselves and others from coronavirus – like regularly washing our hands, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, disinfecting high-touch areas in our home, and wearing masks in public – are great strategies to protect yourself and those around you. So keeping up these good practices is an excellent first defence against the viruses and bacteria that can make us sick.

At Express Scripts Canada Pharmacy, a pharmacist is always available by telephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions. Whether it’s about health issues you are facing, your medications, ways to stay healthy or concerns about mental wellness, we’re here when you need us.

Until next time, I’m Fiona Choi and this has been another episode of Ask the Pharmacist.

I wish you good health.

 

Ask your question below.

 

 
Disclaimer: The information provided is not a substitute for medical or professional advice, judgment, diagnosis or treatment or a recommendation or endorsement for any health care provider, product, procedure, service or other information that may be mentioned. Reliance on any information is solely at the user’s own risk. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. In no event will Express Scripts Canada be liable for any loss or damages of any kind resulting from user’s access to or use of the information on this web site or use of any information contained in linked web sites.
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