Support Your Family’s Immunity Before The Winter Holidays

Sometimes Term 2 feels as if it’s a struggle from one bug to the next. To help avoid spending the winter holidays continuing that battle, support your family’s immunity now so you can enjoy some downtime together later.

During winter our immune system is put to the test with numerous bugs circulating in the community. We look at six ways we can support our immunity for this onslaught.

What is the role of the immune system?

Our immune system has three jobs: To defend the body from ‘attack’ from foreign invaders; to help fight off anything that gets into the body; and finally, the immune system can cleverly ‘remember’ many of the microbes so that next time some try to attack, it can quickly respond.

What makes up the immune system?

The immune system is not one easily identifiable part – instead, it is made up of a network of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins located all over your body. These include skin, bone marrow, the lymphatic system, spleen, adenoids, thymus, appendix, tonsils, and even mucous membranes in the lining of the mouth.

How can we support the immune system?

Because the immune system is made up of so many parts and complex processes, it makes sense that supporting it isn’t straightforward. However, there are some key things we can do to help our immune system.

Good hygiene

Our skin and mucous membranes are an important part of our immune system so we need to help them out. Regular hand washing and sanitizing are important, especially before handling food and after using the bathroom. Wash and cover any cuts or scrapes. Protect others by sneezing or coughing into your elbow.


Vaccinations work by exposing your child to the harmful microbe in a safe way so that their immune system can do its clever work and create some antibodies that are ready and waiting for a large potential future attack from that microbe.

A good diet

This one is easier for some parents to implement than others! Any increase in fresh fruit and veges is good, while a diet high in leafy greens (bok choy, spinach and kale), healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado) healthy sources of protein (eggs, beans, white meat) and fruit high in vitamin c and antioxidants (berries, oranges, red capsicum) is ideal.

A warm, dry home

During winter we spend a lot of time indoors so how well that environment is supporting your immune system is important. A damp, cold house makes your respiratory immune system work harder because it doesn’t like all the moisture, plus the air is more likely to be loaded with bacteria and mould microbes. Damp, bacteria-laden air can also increase the occurrence of problematic eczema and other skin problems.

Plenty of sleep

Not having enough good quality sleep can make you more susceptible to illness.1 Aside from ensuring everyone isn’t grumpy, that’s why a good night’s sleep is so important! Good sleep practices include staying off screens for half an hour or more before bedtime, having a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine, and ensuring everyone is warm and comfortable.

author robynWritten by Robyn

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments. 

Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”

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