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How to Rarely Get Sick
Boosting Your Health with Diet and ExerciseBoosting Your Health with Better Lifestyle HabitsQuestions & AnswersRelated ArticlesReferences
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Tired of skipping days of school or work because you have a cold or a fever? Do you get the flu every year without fail? You hear about those real-life super humans who never get sick, but how do they do it? Well, it's not genetics (at least, mostly) -- they probably have these tips and tricks down to an art. Goodbye constant stuffy nose, hello 100% healthy!
Part 1Boosting Your Health with Diet and Exercise
1Consider calorie restriction. If you didn't have reason to diet before, now you do. Research shows that those who eat 25% less than normal rarely get sick. Your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure levels will all lower, resulting in a healthier you.
- Be careful. This is a diet that's incredibly easy to do incorrectly. It is not about starving yourself -- it's about eating a little less than the average Western diet.
2Take immune-system strengthening vitamins. Before you do this, it's advisable to talk to a doctor. What vitamins and nutrients does your diet lack? He/she will know what to recommend you. A diet that's high in all the good stuff -- especially vitamins A, C, D and iron and zinc -- will keep your immune system ticking on all levels.
- Many believe in sprinkling Brewer's yeast into their morning breakfast. Just a tablespoon gives you all the B vitamins your body needs.
3Get outside. You know how sometimes you feel like all you need is a breath of fresh air? It's your body telling you exactly what it needs! It gives you a break from all those inside germs and gets you moving -- and that gives your "killer" cells a much needed boost.
- Take your run to the trails! Even if it's not workout time, make an excuse to get outside. Walk the dog, wash the car, go for a picnic, a hike, mow the lawn -- just breath that fresh, clean air.
4Exercise. Do cardio workouts to get your heart pumping and your blood moving. They strengthen your immune system, in addition to helping with weight loss, inflammation, and fighting disease. But when it comes to developing immunity, it's because it ups your white cell blood count -- the stuff that fights bad bacteria and viruses.
- Or do some other form of exercise that strengthens and tones your body that will also increase the strength of your immune system. As long as you're up and moving, you're doing yourself a favor.
5Eat healthily. The easiest way to do that? Eat less processed food. Proper nutrition will make your body stronger and help keep your immune system in good shape. Drink enough water, and try to eat organic foods -- the less processing your food has gone through, the better.
- Aim for color in all your meals. Green, leafy vegetables are especially full of proteins that help your immune system stay strong. But every color group has vitamins and nutrients that your body craves.
- Want a few super foods to stave off the illness? Go for apples, garlic, oranges, and ginger. They're jam packed with immuno-building vitamins and minerals.
Part 2Boosting Your Health with Better Lifestyle Habits
1Get the flu vaccine. If all that's not enough, you might as well just buckle down and get the shot. Contact your doctor to see if you're a good candidate. One needle and you'll be good for the entire year.
- The flu usually peaks around January or February. If you're interested, try to get your shot beforehand! Even your local pharmacy may be able to administer you the vaccination.
2Relax. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to avoid stress. Lower cortisol levels keep your body functioning as normal, but it's also about your daily habits: when you're stressed, you sleep less, exercise less, and eat more. Two things not good for impending sickness!
- There are actually stress hormones called glucocorticoids. Over the long-term these hormones wreak havoc on your system, blocking other cells from doing their jobs. When this happens, you become more susceptible to even the weakest of viruses.
3Think positively. Similar to the destress mantra, it's of utmost importance that you think positively. Research shows that happy people -- and those who don't worry about getting sick -- don't get sick! Turns out that positive thinkers produce greater amounts of flu antibodies, though scientists don't really understand why. Relaxing and getting happy may be all your body needs.
- It sort of makes sense -- the happier you are, the less stressed you are. The less stressed you are, the better you sleep, eat, and exercise -- really, the better you do everything.
4Be social. Research has long shown a connection between loneliness and isolation and poor health. We as humans are meant to be social creatures -- when we're not, even our bodies suffer, not to mention our minds. So be social! Use it as excuse to go have fun with your friends. You'll destress and get happy at the same time -- double duty for your fighting responses.
- Make it quadraple-y effective by going outside and exercising! Grab a few friends and hit the pool or go for a hike. Do something apart from staying in and drinking the night away. Do something different!
5Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Because duh. These things all wreak havoc on your health, not only leading to disease and, ultimately, imminent death, but weaken you on a smaller level every single day. They also stress you out, mess up your natural cycles, and just make simple things harder. So cut it out!
- Cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol are all toxins. They get in our systems and wear them down. Sometimes the effects can't even be felt, but they're there. 1 drink is okay, but not more.
6Get a decent amount of sleep. This means every night. Adequate sleep relieves stress and allows your body to recover from daily activities. A 2009 study showed that anything less than 7 hours tripled your chances of getting a cold. So aim for a solid 7 hours (no interruptions) every night of the week. That might mean sometimes not going out, but it's worth it for your health.
- The opposite end of the spectrum isn't great either -- too much sleep isn't good for you, either. So resist sleeping till the afternoon on the weekends -- it will just make you more tired during the week anyway!
7Practice proper hygiene. Apart from showering regularly, here's the down low:
- Carry a hand sanitizer with you to use as much as you'd like. Stay away from bar soap as it can carry germs; opt instead for the kind with a dispenser
- Always thoroughly dry your hands. Damp hands can cultivate bacteria.
- Brush, floss, and gargle. A lot of bacteria festers in our mouths. Aside from general health, poor oral hygiene and gum disease have been linked to more serious diseases, too, like diabetes.
8Take your hygiene to the next level. Though being a germophobe isn't a joke, picking up a few of their tendencies wouldn't be a terrible thing. If you're taking this not-getting-sick thing seriously, here are a few things to try:
- Wash your hands when you come home.
- Avoid doorknobs. Use a tissue to open doors.
- Wash your hands after making contact with strangers.
- Wear plastic gloves when dealing with food preparation.
- In public areas, touch nothing. Use your foot to flush the toilet, a paper towel to turn on the faucet, etc.
How do I get better after being sick?
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Introduce solid foods slowly, starting with soups (such as chicken soup). Avoid dairy, especially if you had stomach issues.
Can not getting enough sleep make you sick?
Not getting enough sleep definitely makes you more susceptible to illness. It weakens your immune system, which is what normally fights off infections and helps keep you healthy. Not sleeping enough also means your body and brain are not getting the time they need to heal from the day. Every day a little bit of damage and stress accumulates in your body, and if you consistently don't sleep enough, that can pile up over time and turn into a more serious issue.
How can I avoid illness when my whole household is sick?
Try to avoid the sickrooms; if there is more than one bathroom in the house, avoid the one that the sick person/persons are using. If there is only one bathroom, clean the sink and toilet with a disinfectant. Also, clean all surfaces in the home that you can, and wash your hands often. Continue doing this for a few days after the symptoms disappear.
I wash my hands all the time. Is it possible to wash off too many good germs?
If you use hand sanitizer or antibacterial soap, yes - and worse, bacteria can become resistant to antibacterial products over time and become increasingly harder to kill. You should try to stick with milder soaps, ideally oil-based or moisturizing ones, otherwise washing too frequently can dry out and damage your skin.
How can I avoid getting sick when my entire family is sick?
Do not share towels or any other household items, wash your hands frequently and disinfect common areas every day to avoid getting sick.
Well I've been doing all these things and still seem to get sick. Do you have anything else to try?
Try to put more yogurt in your daily diet. Yogurt helps strengthen your immune system. Also check that you are getting sufficient sleep as sleep deprivation can reduce your overall health.
Do I have to get a flu shot when I'm sick?
No, don't get the flu shot when your sick. Getting the shot can make your sickness get worse. Wait until you are healthy to get the shot.
Is drinking water healthy?
Yes, as long as it is purified or has been filtered properly.
Everyone tells me to drink milk when I am sick. Should I do this?
That depends on what symptoms you have. For example, if you have a sore throat, drinking milk wouldn't be good for you, but if you feel very weak and you need strength (and your stomach can handle it), you probably should drink milk.
Do I need to worry about showering in the same bathroom as the person in the house who is sick?
No, just make sure to disinfect the faucet before you turn it on.
Ask a Question
- You can catch colds from inhaling someone else's sneeze. But you are more likely to pick up germs through your hands. Keep them washed before putting them anywhere near your face. Colds are most frequently transferred from your hands through your eyes or nose.
- Hand sanitizers are not to be relied upon solely. They may cause resistance build-up for some forms of bacteria, and they are dangerous for water environments, so do not overuse them. Good, frequent scrubs of at least 20 seconds using with normal soap in hot water is recommended.
- Drink 8-15 glasses of water a day as this will wash down germs.
- Remember all doorknobs have germs unless you wipe them off with something like alcohol or bleach.
- Prepare and store food properly. Fully cook meats.
- If you are at a restaurant, wipe the table off or lay a paper towel down before sitting down. Just because they wipe the crumbs off doesn't mean the table is germ-free.
- Don't worry too much; if you think you're going to get sick, it might actually happen! Being healthy on the inside is a prerequisite for being physically healthy.
- Inhale through your nose. The mucous contains white blood cells which entraps and kills germs associated to common cold.
- This should be a given, but for some it's not; do not share drinks or food with anyone else, including your mother.
- Keep your house as clean as possible.
- Don't obsess about keeping everything spotless and germ-free. Your body will get used to having germs and will fight them off naturally, strengthening your immune system.
- Cleanliness is important for maintaining your health. However, some amount of germs are necessary to keep our immune system working in top shape. By all means, you should avoid contaminating your food, water, and exposing yourself to illnesses, however, you shouldn't need to fear all germs.
- Vitamins can help.
- Wash your hands with soap before and after every meal.
- Even people who are extremely careful about washing hands and being away from sick people get sick. Meaning, it's not always possible to avoid getting sick. However, use common sense.
- Getting exposed to sicknesses makes your immune system stronger in the long run. It's recommended that you only follow this when it is really important to not have a stuffy nose.
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