Boost your immune system now and stay healthy for your summer holidays

Medical Director, UK Insurance at Bupa UK
29 May 2018

We’ve all been there. It’s day one of your long-awaited holiday and you feel a tingle in your throat, your body is sore and a cough is coming on. You’re unwell. By day three, you’re too sick to sit poolside, enjoy a cocktail or soak up the sunshine with the kids. It’s unfair – this is your much-anticipated holiday! So what can you do to stop this from happening?

A little boat on a clear sea

Why do we get ill on holiday?

Right now thousands of people across the UK are booking their holiday getaways and it’s not unusual for people to find themselves battling sickness when they’re away. Exposure to new environments and close contact with unwell travellers can increase your chance of picking up a bug, particularly if your immune system is run-down.

So while you’re booking your trip, now is also the perfect time to start boosting your immune system to prevent an illness spoiling your fun. Your immune system is clever; it detects and destroys harmful invaders that cause illness so it needs to be fighting fit to do its job. Investing time now in boosting your health and fitness in the weeks leading up to your holiday can help make sure you’re feeling strong and healthy.

Five ways to boost your immune system

These are my top five tips for boosting your immune system in time for your summer break.

  1. Get a good night's sleep. How much sleep you need varies from person to person but it’s generally thought that most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. A good night’s sleep ensures your body is well-rested and better prepared to combat any illness which may come your way.
  2. Diversify your diet. Up your intake of foods rich in antioxidants, including leafy green vegetables, berries and citrus fruits. Try and eat a rainbow as all fruit and veg have different vitamins and minerals that promote good health and prevent illness. You could also add a probiotic yogurt to your diet to help boost your immune system. Probiotics have the added benefit of reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections (ie a tummy bug), which often occur when travelling.
  3. Get some exercise. Exercising has a positive effect on your health in a number of different ways. For example, the switch between breathing through your nose and mouth that happens when you’re exercising can get rid of harmful particles in your airways and lungs.
  4. Keep hands clean. Washing your hands regularly is vital to stopping the spread of illness. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly when using public facilities or preparing food. When you’re travelling, carry an alcohol gel with you in case there’s nowhere to wash your hands with soap and water.
  5. Relax, refresh, revive. In the lead up to your holiday, make time to relax and unwind.. This can help make the transition from a busy working environment to a peaceful paradise easier on your body and mind. Our mindfulness information can help you get started.

Super smoothie recipes

Boost your immune system at breakfast with these handy smoothie recipes.

Graphic showing how to make the perfect smoothie



Even healthy people become unwell sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance.

Dr Luke James
Medical Director, UK Insurance at Bupa UK

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