We all love the buzz of a fresh school year: shiny new textbooks, squeaky-clean classrooms, and the blank slate of a brand-new semester. But with the hustle and bustle of crowded hallways, shared spaces, and packed lunchrooms, the school environment can sometimes feel like an incubator for germs. No one likes a surprise pop-quiz from our immune system, so here’s our cheat sheet of tips and tricks to help teachers and students alike keep their immunity game strong.

Eat a Healthy Diet

You are what you eat, so make it something good. Our bodies are a bit like our school buses – they need the right fuel to run effectively. No matter your age or school status, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are your body’s best friends. Consider incorporating immunity-boosting foods into your school lunch, such as oranges for vitamin C, almonds for vitamin E, and yogurt for probiotics. They provide the essential vitamins and minerals to help strengthen the immune system.

Drink Plenty of Water

Next up, hydration! Think of water as the school’s janitor for your body – it helps flush out toxins and ensures everything is running smoothly. Dehydration happens faster than you think, especially in active teachers and students who are too busy for a water break. Aim for at least 8 glasses a day (and no, your morning coffee doesn’t count).

Consider Immunity Supplements

Supplements are like CliffsNotes for your health – they’re an extra boost to help along the way. Vitamin C and D, Zinc, Omega 3s, and elderberry are popular supplements that may support immune health, especially if you aren’t getting them in your daily diet. But it’s important to remember that kids and adults have very different nutritional needs, and supplements aren’t recommended (or approved) for use in children. Always speak to your doctor before adding any supplements to your health routine.

Get Your Vaccinations

In the world of immunity, vaccines play a starring role. They’re the ultimate prep course, teaching your immune system how to fight off certain viruses. Make sure you’re up to date with recommended vaccinations, including the annual flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines. Most public school systems require students to be up-to-date on the recommended vaccines for their age group.

Sleep Hard, Study Hard

Let’s not forget the power of proper sleep! It’s the time when your body takes a study break and repairs itself. Teachers and students should aim to get a full night’s sleep (that’s between 8 and 12 hours, depending on your age) and practice good sleep hygiene, including sticking to a schedule and limiting screen time before bed (even if that means cutting your Netflix marathon short).

Stay Active

Physical activity is another biggie for immune health. Regular exercise is like a gym class for your cells; it promotes good circulation, which helps the immune cells and substances to move freely and do their job efficiently. But teachers and students spend long hours sitting at a desk, which makes staying active harder to do. Try to incorporate movement into every day, whether that’s joining a school sports team or even taking a brisk walk between classes.

Manage Your Stress

Research has shown that chronic stress is an immune system killer. But teachers have more than double the stress of other working adults, and students aren’t far behind. As you prepare for the upcoming school year, remember to take breaks, practice mindfulness, and engage in self-care activities that bring you joy. Your physical and mental health will thank you.