Whether you’re reading this in the dead of summer or you’re bundled up during cold and flu season, you’re at risk of getting sick. As you read this, your body is fighting off all manner of diseases and infections. Most of the time it defends you successfully, but other times, you let your guard down and get sick. There’s no way to stay 100 percent immune from everything, but there are ways to improve your chances of fighting off an infection, even if you get sick for a short period of time.
Get enough sleep.
You should be doing this anyway, but it’s especially important during cold and flu season! A well-rested body is your first line of defense against germs. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, or more if you need it. And if you start feeling sick, definitely get to bed for a nap!
Wash your hands.
You’ve heard this all your life, but it’s important! Wash your hands early and often, especially if a bug is going around. You won’t just be protecting yourself, but you may protect others if you get sick and don’t have symptoms yet. You should be especially careful to wash your hands if you’re going to be in contact with a baby, an elderly person, or something with a compromised immune system.
Exercise regularly (but lightly).
Gentle exercise can give your immune system a fantastic boost. Cardio and weight lifting are both helpful in fending off harmful viruses and other pathogens. Just don’t overdo it; excessive strain on your body can have the opposite effect and weaken your immune system.
Eat healthy foods and drink enough water.
Staying hydrated and nourished can go a long way toward keeping you healthy! Make sure to get enough fruits and veggies, which have nutrients like vitamin C to keep your immune system strong. Water will also help to flush your system and ensure that white blood cells can rapidly get where they need to go.
Avoid Crowded Spaces
If a cold or flu is going around and you can’t afford to get sick, avoid enclosed, crowded places. This could mean a bar or a cozy family gathering, but either way, it’s okay to turn it down if you absolutely need to. And if you’re forced to get on that airplane, take the window seat and use hand sanitizer early and often.
If all else fails and you start experiencing cold symptoms, take a zinc supplement. In some places, you may be able to find the more effective zinc nose sprays, although many places have pulled them off the shelf due to worries about them causing a loss of sense of smell. Still, taking zinc in any form can really help prevent colds or reduce the length of time you have to suffer through one, so don’t be afraid of the taste.
What do you do to ward off sickness?