Getting sick is never fun. Quite a few people experience minor colds and flus from time to time. In fact, chances are you’re fighting off a very light cold right now even if you feel completely fine.
The viruses that cause colds and flu are always around. Instances increase during the fall and winter months mostly because people tend to be cramped together for longer periods of time.
Staying healthy isn’t all that complicated. It’s about fostering good habits and being consistent with prevention. There’s no real secret or panacea. If you’re wondering how to stop getting sick all the time, use these six tips.
1. Stay Hydrated
Fluids are essential for your body to remove metabolic waste. If you don’t get enough, it could lead to many problems. It might even weaken your immune system if it continues for a prolonged period of time.
A good rule of thumb is to drink around 64 fl. Oz. every day. Stick to water, mostly, but there are significant benefits that have been linked to drinking green tea.
Researchers have found several positive correlations between the antioxidants in green tea and some important health indicators. These antioxidants, also called flavonoids, may reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Green tea is about as close as you can get to a superfood — or drink in this case.
Another important aspect of drinking enough water is dealing with stress. The stress hormone, cortisol, can increase when we are dehydrated. Drinking enough fluids can play a central role in reducing stress as well.
2. Make Sure You Get Enough Exercise
The wide-ranging benefits of staying physically active are well documented. Besides the obvious benefits of helping to maintain a healthy body fat percentage, exercise can also help you maintain overall health.
Keeping a regular routine of physical activity can improve your immune system and reduce the effects of chronic diseases.
Moreover, exercise has been shown to reduce stress in several ways. It improves your body’s ability to allocate oxygen and also increase the production of endorphins. There is even some evidence that exercise can have a calming effect on people, similar to meditation.
3. Don’t Skip Flu Shots
Flu shots aren’t just for the naive. There’s a provable inverse relationship between people who have been vaccinated and those who contract the flu.
If you want to know how to stop getting sick all the time, flu vaccines are among your strongest weapons.
The most effective way to protect yourself from the flu is the vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older get vaccinated before the flu season. It takes around two weeks to the antibodies to develop in your system. That makes the early fall ideal time to get vaccinated.
Flu vaccines are offered in most doctor’s offices, as well as clinics and some schools and pharmacies. An annual vaccine provides an ideal protection because the number of antibodies decreases over time and flu viruses adapt to vaccines as well.
4. Proper Hygiene Goes a Long Way
At the end of the day, most illnesses are caused by germs. If you reduce your exposure to germs, you will also reduce your chance of contracting an illness.
Covering your mouth when you cough is a common courtesy for those around you. If you’re really concerned about not getting sick, wearing a surgical mask has been shown to reduce the chance of contracting the flu.
There are any number of ways to limit your exposure to bacteria and viruses. First and foremost, washing your hands thoroughly before touching or preparing food should be a constant practice. Frequent showers are also a good habit to develop. Don’t go overboard, though, showering once a day is enough for most people.
Also, it’s a good idea to wash your hands before coming into contact with any type of a mucous membrane. This includes eyes, nose, and throat.
Hand sanitizer is another good way to stave off contact-based diseases. You can use the sanitizer on any shared surface or, for best effect, on your hands when you finish using any shared items.
5. Eat a Diverse Diet
Maintaining a diverse diet is as important as getting enough food every day to maintain your caloric needs.
Leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals. They help maintain a healthy immune system. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, have been shown to boost immune health in mice.
Eating three balanced meals every day is a great way to maintain metabolic health, immune health, and the overall physical well-being. If you, however, follow a specialized diet, make sure you’re still getting all important nutrients.
One nutrient that is commonly absent from most people’s diets and lifestyle is vitamin D. Our body has Vitamin D generators that are powered by sunlight. Getting enough vitamin D can be as simple as increasing your exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, salmon, beef liver, and most types of tuna.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Whether you’re already sick or not, getting enough sleep is imperative to maintaining overall health.
According to research, getting enough sleep has been linked to increased resistance to cold and flu symptoms. And it’s a very simple intervention, as easy as sleeping six to eight hours every night.
Adults who get the recommended amount of sleep show greater resistance to the flu virus as well as the common cold.
Cytokines are a protein that helps regulate the immune system and fight off disease. During long periods of sleep, our bodies release significant amounts of cytokines. This may as well be the mechanism by which sleep helps maintain a healthy immune system.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
The key to staying healthy is leading a healthy lifestyle. If you stick to some basic guidelines, your chances of contracting an illness will be greatly reduced.
Make sure you wash your hands often and take a shower every day. Bad hygiene is a gateway for all sorts of diseases.
Getting enough sleep and plenty of fluids are great ways to keep your immune system healthy and working properly. This, along with regular vaccinations and a good diet, should be enough to keep you free from the common cold and flu viruses.