No one wants the discomfort – let alone the hassle – that comes with catching a cold or other illness. But you don’t have to shell out for expensive remedies or shots of ginger or kale smoothies every day to support your immune system or stay healthy. Here are a few affordable steps you can take to safeguard your health.

Have a laugh
Stress is a major contributor to why and when we get sick. It taxes the immune system and makes it harder to fight off infections. Growing research points to laughter as a powerful medicine that helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve your mood. When we laugh, our body brings in extra oxygen, which lowers our heart rate and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – the opposite of fight-or-flight mode. Basically, it’s like taking deep breaths to calm yourself down, but more enjoyable.

Drink up
Staying hydrated is an important tool to keep your body working at its best, especially if you think you might be coming down with something. Water is recommended as best. But as the days cool off a soothing cup of mint, lemon, ginger or fennel tea, may give you a low-cost boost of vitamin C and antioxidants in addition to warmth and a calming, comforting flavour. Stashing a box of teabags at the office or in your kitchen cupboards means they’ll be within easy reach when you need them.

Get some shut-eye
Sleep is like the ultimate no-cost wellness hack, allowing your body to reset and restore itself overnight. Experts generally recommend adults get six to nine hours of sleep a night, but exactly how much each person needs is different. Research also suggests that waking and going to sleep at roughly the same time every day will improve your quality of sleep.

Alternatively, a slightly cool room is thought to provide a less disturbed, more restful sleep – so it’s smart to turn down the thermostat a little at night.

Get your shots
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent the flu and the serious complications you can get from it. And, of course, costs associated with receiving the flu shot are covered by provincial health insurance plans in Canada. This year, you can get the flu shot at the same time as your dose of the latest approved COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, that’s what’s recommended by Health Canada. While it’s never too late to get them, the sooner the better so that your body can build up immunity before the season peaks.

You can get your flu vaccine and COVID-19 shot at most local pharmacies, including Rexall. You can walk in or book an appointment online at