Everywhere you go, people are sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. Think you’re next to get sick? Not necessarily. There are no guarantees, but you can seriously lower your odds of illness by taking simple precautions to avoid germs and keep your immune system strong says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Here are some ways you can prevent getting sick.
Eat to beat illness
Diet is the fuel that runs the complex human machine and all of its parts, including the immune system. Eat well to be well. Read the labels to know what you are eating.
Exercise can keep you from getting sick by stimulating the immune cells that target cold infections. A University of South Carolina study found that people who walked or did other moderate activity for 30 minutes most days averaged one cold per year, while less-active folks reported more than four colds per year.
Hydrate inside and out
Lower humidity and temperatures help the flu virus spread, which may explain why flu outbreaks peak in winter. Humidity, on the other hand, kills the virus, so keep air at home warm and moist.
Sleep on it
Logging less than seven hours sleep in the weeks before being exposed to a cold virus can make you three times more likely to develop a respiratory illness than if you got eight or more hours.
Give germs the slip
Your biggest defense against lurking cold and flu bugs, old-fashioned hand-washing. Soap up long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice through and if you can’t wash, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Dodge germs in the air
Germ-filled droplets can fly through the air. So if someone within 6 feet of you is coughing or sneezing, turn your head away for about 10 seconds while the air clears.