From your coughing co-worker to that sniffling seat-mate on the bus – does it seem like everyone around you is suffering from some sort of sickness? While you can’t live life in a germ-free bubble, you can follow these six easy tips to help defend your health:
1. Hygiene: The best way to avoid getting sick is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before eating or touching your face, and after using the restroom, coughing/sneezing or touching shared surfaces around the office, gym or out in public. If soap isn’t readily available, use hand sanitizer.
2. Avoidance: A 2007 study found that shopping cart handles contained more bacteria than the average public restroom. (That really puts the gross in grocery, huh?) That’s why it’s best to avoid or minimize your contact with shared surfaces where germs may be lurking. In addition to grocery carts, these surfaces include doorknobs, railings, elevator buttons, restaurant menus and water fountains.
Trying to take cover from coughing co-workers? Read more about avoiding germs in the office.
3. Nutrients: Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with immune-nourishing foods, such as raw garlic, yogurt, leafy greens and citrus fruits. To fill in dietary gaps and offer additional reinforcement for the winter months, consider adding an immune-supporting supplement to your daily routine — our top picks are vitamin C, elderberry (sambucus) and echinacea.
4. Exercise: Daily, moderate-level workouts are a great way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Since gyms are a common breeding ground for germs, be sure to wash your hands and wipe down machines before and after your sweat session.
5. Rest: Need an excuse to take a nap? Adequate rest, including 7-8 hours of sleep per night, can assist your body’s recovery from the stresses of the day and support normal immune function. Other relaxing activities — like meditation and bubble baths — can also help.
6. Positive thoughts: Don’t let anxiety or stress 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. Yet another reason to smile!