When everyone around you is getting sick, you know the obvious rules, like “don’t share water bottles,” and “don’t stand in the way of your friend’s sneeze,” but what if you want to go above and beyond this year? What if you want a perfect track record – no sickness at all? With cold and flu season just around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to help you in your quest to keep yourself and your family healthy.
The easiest way to stay healthy is to avoid the bugs in the first place and to accomplish that there are a few things you should do:
1. Wash your hands frequently. Preferably with soap, but hand sanitizer works too.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
3. Carry your own pen. People share pens, but people don’t clean pens.
4. Sanitize public gym equipment before using it.
5. Be careful where you set your cell phone. Consider all of the places your phone has been, and then consider the fact that you put that phone on your face.
6. Avoid touching heavily used items, like water fountains and coffee pots.
7. Consider an annual flu shot. It’s best to get one in October to give your body more time to develop the antibodies that fight viruses but later is fine too. Remember that the shot only protects against 3-4 strains of influenza, so don’t get careless.
We recognize that it’s impossible to avoid all exposure to viruses, so it’s just as important to keep your immune system strong. There’s no single way to do that, but there are a lot of little things you can do that will go a long way:
1. Try to eat a little more fruits and vegetables. Fresh and raw is best, but frozen is the next best option if fresh produce is unavailable. Eating an actual piece of produce is better than a multivitamin for your immunity.
2. Limit your alcohol intake – keep it to a maximum of one drink per night.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Most adults need at least 7-9 hours of good, quality sleep a night. (Psst, we actually have an entire blog post about it.)
4. De-stress. Relax with family and friends, laugh often, or even consider getting a massage every once in a while.
5. Take care of your stomach. 80% of your immune system is thought to be located in your digestive system. Boost the good bacteria by eating yoghurt, kefir, and probiotics. And avoid unnecessary antibiotics as they can kill off immunity-boosting bacteria in your gut.
6. Don’t forget about Vitamin D in the winter. Aside from taking a nutritional supplement, you can also eat foods with Vitamin D, like fish, dairy, soy, and mushrooms, or use a safe tanning bed.
7. Drink hot tea with lemon and honey. The lemon will help thin mucus, and the honey kills bacteria.
You don’t have to do all of these things of course, but trying one or two can go a long way to keeping away colds this winter! Ultimately though, we just want you and your family to be healthy and happy. So whether it be our suggestions, or someone else, we encourage you to try out some new better for you habits – we’re sure you’ll be happy that you did.