It’s flu season and the last thing you want is to come down with the same illness as your family or your colleagues. You see all these doctors and nurses who seem to avoid illnesses and all you can wonder is how they avoid it. It’s not like their immune system is super strong just because of their jobs. They’re at risk of developing all the conditions their patients come in with.
Doctors, nurses, and many parents take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. You can do the same things to help limit the chances of catching whatever your colleague brings into the office or your child brings home from school.
While you can’t keep the bugs out of the house, you can prevent the bugs from causing a problem. Here are eight tips to help you avoid getting sick.
Stop Touching Your Face and Biting Your Nails
Your hands are the dirtiest thing about your body. Yes, really! They touch all the surfaces that have the most bacteria and viruses; the likes of which get stuck under your nails. Just think about where the bacteria and viruses go when you put your hands anywhere near your face.
That’s right; they go around your face. You put the viruses into your mouth and place the bacteria around your nose. They all end up getting into your body, making your immune system get to work. Rather than fighting off the infections, why don’t you just stop the infections from getting into your body at all?
Stop putting your hands near your face. Stop biting your nails. You’ll be amazed at how many illnesses you can avoid with this.
You should even do this if you wash your hands regularly or if you use antibacterial gels. The best thing to do is prevent the transfer. After all, it works the opposite way too. Any germs you have around your mouth or nose will pass onto your hands, where they linger and then transfer back.
This is going to be a habit you need to break. After all, you possibly find yourself biting your nails out of nerves or subconsciously. Make a conscious effort to catch yourself and stop.
Improve Your Exercising Habits
Exercise isn’t just good for weight management. It also helps to give your immune system a much-needed boost. You don’t need to do much but look at adding 30-60 minutes of exercise.
However, you want to look at keeping the exercise to a healthy limit. We spend so much time looking at how exercise helps that we forget to look at the way it can hinder our health. After doing 60 minutes of intense exercise, our bodies have a 72-hour period where the immune system doesn’t work effectively. This can lead to a bug taking hold and we start to feel sick. Athletes have shown they’re more at risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections and illnesses that affect their chests.
You’ll need to give your body time to recover after an exercise period. With a moderate amount frequently, you can give your immune system a boost. It’s not just the exercising, but the rest period in between.
If you do feel tired or under the weather, don’t push ahead with an exercise plan. You want to allow your body time to heal first and then you can get back out. Exercising when you’re not well won’t just make you sicker, but you run the risk of causing an injury.
Get More Fresh Air
It may be cold outside, but you want to open the windows or step outside to get some of the fresh, crisp air. When the air gets stale, the bacteria and viruses have more time to build and spread. Outside, they have further to go and they are less likely to affect you. If you really can’t go outside for whatever reason, get an air purifier to at least improve the air quality.
This is something you’ll want to do when there are sick people in the office. People can’t always take time off because of a cold. If someone is ill, open the window near your desk or bundle up and get outside on your breaks.
Any bacteria or viruses that are on you will also be killed in the UV rays. Yes, even in the winter the sun has UV rays that will damage living things.
You can also help to limit the number of their viruses that affect you. If they sneeze, hold your breath for 10-15 seconds. This will give the bacteria time to move on, so they don’t affect your immune system.
Wash Your Hands with Water
It’s time to stop using the anti-bacterial gels. They’re not doing your health much good. The use of anti-bacterial gels has led to the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The more of the gels you use, the more likely you are to kill off good bacteria in your body and make it easier for the bad bacteria to take over. Plus, the gels don’t exactly stop the viruses from taking over, and most of common colds and flu are linked to viruses rather than bacterial infections.
When you wash your hands, the best thing you can use is plain soap and water. Make sure you wash your hands before every meal and after you’ve used the toilet. You should also wash them when you leave the office and before you enter. This is the best way to keep the number of bacteria and viruses on your hands to a minimum.
If someone nearby sneezes or coughs on you, wash your hands. This can be a time to use one anti-bacterial wipe but do this sparingly. With some good soap and water, there’s no need to use the anti-bacterial products.
Encourage people to cough and sneeze into tissues. Of course, you can’t make people do this, so you’ll need to minimize the number of your own bugs that spread around the office and reduce the chance of someone else’s bug infesting within you. Wash your own hands and use tissues when you cough or sneeze.
The only time anti-bacterial or alcohol-based hand sanitizers are useful are when you have no access to soap and water. For example, when entering and leaving a hospital, you want to use the sanitizers. You’ll have no idea what you’ve brought in or what’s going around the area, so you help to prevent the spread as much as possible.
Make Sure You Get Plenty of Sleep
The amount of sleep you do or don’t get will affect your ability to fight off infections. When you’re tired, your immune system becomes sluggish. The immune system needs you to be at your best, so it can be at its best. It’s its part of you.
In fact, when you sleep is when your immune system works at its best. It will fight off the infections instead. Therefore, the best thing you can do when you are sick is sleep; why you feel extremely tired when you’re ill.
By getting enough sleep, you keep your immune system working. If you pick up a bug from someone at work, your immune system will be able to fight against whenever you get enough sleep. While nothing can really prevent the bug from getting in, the immune system prevents it from taking hold in your body. The immune system is your first line of defense and stops the issue of fighting against the growing infection. It’s much easier to prevent than it is to treat.
When you suffer from a lack of sleep, your whole body is drained. Your metabolism doesn’t work properly, your brain suffers, and your immune system can’t work effectively. All this leads to you getting ill.
And it’s not just sleeping. It’s just not getting enough rest. If you exercise too much, you can make it harder to sleep and this leads to illnesses taking hold.
Follow a Healthy and Balanced Diet
While you get enough sleep, you also need to make sure you get enough of the right diet. This is more than looking at your calorie intake but looking at your macro and micronutrients. You need to make sure you get plenty of antioxidants and vitamins to support your whole system.
Vitamin C is considered one of the best options to avoid getting sick, but it’s not the only one. You also want to increase the amount of vitamins A and E that you take in. These are also antioxidants that will give your immune system a direct boost. Getting plenty of protein can also help to support muscle and organ health, while fiber will help to support the digestive system, which houses 80% of your immune system.
But you do need to look at your calorie intake. If you don’t give your body enough energy, it will struggle with efficiency. Your immune system takes a dip in a similar way to not getting enough sleep. The brain can’t pass the right messages around and your metabolism slows down. Your immune system doesn’t get the right messages to fight against bugs and you’re more likely to succumb to whatever viruses are doing the rounds.
The winter is one of the hardest but easiest times of year to get the right nutrients. You don’t want salads in the cold, but soups and stews can be perfect. You can also stock up on onions, garlic, and ginger to help support the health of the body and avoid infections.
You’ll also want to stock up on probiotics. These will help with the growth of good bacteria to keep bad bacteria naturally to a minimum, giving your immune system less to fight off.
Keep Your Stress Levels to a Minimum
Stress affects the whole body negatively, especially the immune system. When you’re under stress, the whole body shuts down. The cortisol and adrenaline levels rise, causing the blood pressure to increase and other negative side effects. For short periods of time, this can be useful, especially when you need to adrenaline to carry you through problems. However, if you’re a naturally stressful person, you need to find ways to manage the levels.
Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to keep yourself healthy. As you meditate and lower the stress levels, the immune system can work more effectively. Bugs don’t get a chance to take hold and you can keep the bacteria growths in your gut to a minimum.
High-stress levels will also make it harder for you to sleep. This then links back to the immune system not working properly because you’re not rested.
Take a Rain Check
If you’re planning a visit, check to see how they’re feeling. While you can’t always put visits off for the sniffles, you should minimize contact when they’re ill. If you do decide to visit, make sure you follow precautions to avoid taking their bugs home with you, including by washing your hands, not touching your face, and minimizing contact with their germs.
There’s nothing wrong with saying that you’ll take a rain check.
But aren’t doctors around sick people all the time? Well, they do take precautions to avoid contracting the bugs. You’ll notice most don’t shake hands or come near you unless they need to. They can even encourage you to stay away from the office if they can make an educated guess hearing about symptoms over the phone (like with chicken pox) to minimize exposure. Some doctors will also wear masks if there’s a risk of highly contagious infections.
However, you have a choice. You can avoid people if they’re ill. Doctors can’t. So, you might as well use that to your advantage.
If you are looking after sick kids or family members, follow the above tips. When handling their vomiting or stools, make sure you wash your hands right away afterward and dispose of fully.
You Can Avoid the Sickness Bugs Taking Hold
There’s no need to just put up with every bug that comes into your home. It’s possible to avoid the sickness bugs and viruses taking hold in your body. You just need to create an environment around and within you that keeps the immune system working effectively.
The eight steps above will give you all you need for a healthy environment. While you can’t change other people, you can keep yourself protected. Just do everything that the health professionals do, and you will be good as gold. These tips will help whether it’s your kids, your colleagues or your friends struggling with bacterial and viral infections, whatever time of year.