As most people head into the gym, their minds are focused on the day’s workout—not on MRSA, norovirus, influenza and other scary germs that may be floating around or lurking on the equipment. While disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers are available in some facilities, you might be lucky to get a paper towel in others. But you don’t have to become a germophobe—or worse, avoid working out at the gym altogether—to avoid getting sick. Just use common sense and keep these tips in mind to protect yourself.
Germs are everywhere, but sometimes we don’t consider the fact that germs and bacteria actually live on our skin. We’re all aware that we need to wash our hands frequently, follow basic food safety practices and avoid touching people and objects that we know are infected with our bare hands. We tend to think of bacteria as germs that cause illnesses; however, new studies suggest that a healthy amount of normal bacteria can help prevent diseases. When it comes to our skin, though, we often associate bacteria with breakouts, clogged pores and congested skin.
As the temperatures cool, those pretty amber-and-gold leaves aren’t the only things whirling in the air. All of that sneezing and coughing is sending all kinds of germs airborne as well. And if you’ve got kids in school or daycare, you know how quickly the bug du jour spreads—and how long it can take for everyone in the family to feel good again!
For most parents, back-to-school means back-to-germ exposure because of the people and things your children touch or have close contact with. But making sure your children are as well protected as possible, by giving maximum support to their immune systems, can be as easy as one-two-three.
Pregnancy is like a magnet for strangers. For some reason, the sight of your pregnant belly makes people want to touch you, talk about your body, ask inappropriate questions and share unsolicited stories and advice. (No, I really DON’T want to hear about the hemorrhoids you got when you were pregnant in 1965.)
I really didn’t enjoy that part of being pregnant, so I thought when he was born it would be over. Although I’m not constantly being asked about my pregnancy or having unwanted hands on my belly, I’ve met an entirely new monster: people wanting to touch my baby. Read more →
Does it seem like everyone around you is suffering from the sniffles? Defend yourself from germs by following these six easy tips:
1. Hygiene: The best way to avoid getting sick is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands before eating or touching your face, and after using the restroom, handling raw meat, coughing/sneezing or touching shared surfaces around the office, gym or out in public. If soap isn’t available, use hand sanitizer.
2. Avoidance: If possible, it’s best to avoid or minimize your contact with shared surfaces that may be teeming with germs. These include door handles, railings, elevator buttons, paper money and water fountains. (Read more about fighting germs in the office.)
3. Nutrients: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are chock-full of immune-supporting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Foods that can be especially helpful include garlic, yogurt, leafy greens and citrus fruits.
4. Exercise: Regular workouts are a great way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Be sure to avoid germs at the gym by washing your hands and wiping down machines before and after use.
5. Rest: Need an excuse to take a nap? Adequate rest, including 7-8 hours of sleep per night, can help your body recover from the stresses of the day. Naps and other relaxing activities (meditation, yoga, etc.) can also help your body recharge and support normal immune function.
6. Positive Thoughts: Don’t let stress or anxiety get you down – positive thinking not only helps you stay calm, studies have shown that a cheerful disposition can also promote overall health, by stimulating antibody response within the immune system!
During the winter season, sickness seems to spread through the office like wildfire. How can you protect yourself from your co-workers’ germs? Consider these four tips:
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