Still wondering why some friends of yours seem to get sick occasionally while you’re always carrying a bag of tissues and vitamin C supplements in your backpack? Well, most of them probably follow some daily tips to avoid colds and flu. Every single action (pressing the elevator button included) you take on a daily basis can increase (or not) your chances of getting sick.
Taking minor precautions and adopting several simple health-promoting habits could keep colds and flu at bay. Therefore, you can forget about your vitamin C supplements, tissues, essential oils for nasal congestion, and cough medicine. Instead of keeping all of them tucked away in your purse, start welcoming some healthy habits into your life.
As the saying goes ‘a little goes a long way’ and that’s certainly the case when you start doing these 11 things. So, let’s find out what people who rarely get sick do to avoid colds and flu.
1. They press the elevator button with their elbow
Can you say the same thing? Because most people who rarely get sick tend to use their elbows when using the elevator. Since we all know how many germs and bacteria are on elevator buttons, it’s best to press them using your elbow or a Q-tip.
A leading physician, and author of Ask Dr. Nandi, Partha Nandi, MD, says that you should avoid touching often-used surfaces such as elevator buttons like the plague. He even suggests using a paper towel in order to turn off the faucet after you are done washing your hands properly.
Stop pressing elevator buttons with your hands, use a disinfectant wipe, your elbow, a Q-tip, or whatever you find suitable in your backpack instead.
2. They drink plenty of H2O
A survey found that the vast majority of those who tend to avoid getting sick drink plenty of water. So, how much water are you drinking? The National Academy of Sciences says that women should drink about 11 cups of water daily, while men, 16 cups. However, these numbers vary greatly if we take into consideration someone’s lifestyle, body size, and other important factors.
For instance, if you like to run every single day, you’ll most likely need to increase the recommended water intake. A family medicine physician from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Renee Miranda, MD, says that staying hydrated is the first rule in avoiding colds and flu.
If you don’t really know how much H2O you should sip daily, divide your weight in pounds in half, and, according to Dr. Miranda, this is how many ounces of liquids your body needs per day.
3. They don’t neglect their sleeping hours
Numerous studies have found that people who don’t get enough hours of sleep have a weakened immune system. And what happens when your immune system is weak? You are more likely to get sick because the first barrier against viruses and bacteria is unsteady.
Dr. Miranda confirms that getting enough hours of quality sleep is the best thing you could possibly do for your immune system. She adds that sleep helps your body repair, rejuvenate, and recuperate when need it. Sleeping for at least six hours a night is crucial to prevent colds and flu.
4. They disinfect their car keys and phones
Your phone may be dirtier (germier) than a public toilet, so how often do you disinfect it? The same goes for the keys to your home and car. These objects pick up germs and bacteria from every single surface they touch throughout the day.
Once you touch them, all those germs transfer to your hands, therefore your face. Disinfect and clean the objects you touch on a regular basis, such as keys, phones, keyboards, sunglasses, and pens, as often as possible.
It’s important to disinfect all surfaces when a family member is sick. Doorknobs, light switches, remotes, faucets, and toilet flushers are often overlooked. So, make sure you don’t miss them.
*Wipe, wipe, wipe it down, wipe!
5. They get a flu shot
Want to avoid colds and flu? Get a flu shot! It is the best thing to do. According to the CDC, getting a flu shot every single year is a surefire way to protect yourself against the flu. Dr. Miranda says that being up to date on all vaccines is equally important.
And although the flu shot is far from perfect, it is actually your best (and safest) bet. Yes, flu shots don’t protect against every single strain of a virus, but they help a lot. If you get sick, at least you’ll have mild symptoms if you get the shot.
So, don’t forget about your flu shot!
6. They practice meditation
Another thing that could be detrimental to your immune system’s natural ability to fight colds is how you handle stress. Those who rarely get sick handle stress better than those who do. In fact, several studies pointed out that stress has many negative effects on our bodies, including on our immune system.
Founder of Be Well and the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, Frank Lipman, MD, says that practicing meditation or yoga can significantly reduce stress levels. So, if you want to boost your immunity, manage your stress first.
Plus, both yoga and meditation have a plethora of health benefits, including decreased inflammation markers, controlled sugar cravings, improved mental health, and lowered blood pressure levels.
7. They take zinc
While we all know that vitamin C is good for fighting colds, zinc is not the first mineral we would think of when staving off viruses. So, the chances of you taking zinc supplements are pretty small. Aren’t they?
A review of studies concluded that people who take zinc within the first 24 hours of cold symptoms and signs are most likely to have a short sick time. The author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies and nutrition and fitness expert Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, says that you should take zinc in the form of a lozenge or syrup because it stays in your throat (where you’ve contracted the virus) for longer.
8. They get outside more
People who rarely get sick spend more time outdoors, even when it’s snowing. Try to remember how many times you’ve heard the phrase “Don’t get outside! It’s freezing, and you’ll catch a cold…” More than twenty times? Well, whoever told you that, he/she was wrong.
Spending more time outdoors, even if we go for a short walk, offers stress relief, helps with circulation, and improves overall health. Doctors are not surprised when someone who has a sedentary lifestyle gets sick frequently.
Turn off your TV, put your pants on, and enjoy what Mother Nature has created. It is scientifically proven that spending more time outdoors decreases your chances of getting sick.
9. They flush out their nose
Flushing out your nose can help you avoid nasal infections. The owner of The Medical Herbalist Apothecary and medical herbalist Tami Bronstein, says that because most germs are airborne, the best thing to do is to reduce the exposure.
Rinsing and cleaning the internal nostrils with a pure saline wash can get you rid of trouble. When you do that, try to place the spray nozzle so that it stays in the inner tip of your nose. In this area, the rhinovirus tends to replicate itself. Interrupt its multiplication by doing a nasal rinse.
10. They aren’t germaphobes
Sorry to inform you about this, but… if you are actually one of those individuals who are always questioning if their bad soap is full of germs or not, you are more likely to get sick. While indeed it is essential to wash your hands properly after using the bathroom, let’s say you shouldn’t sanitize every single thing ten times a day.
Parents who let their children get dirty deserve the ‘parents of the year’ certificate. This is how children build their immunity! If you constantly disinfect the surfaces he/she gets in touch with, you’ll end up having a child that spends more time with the family doctor than you.
Exposure to bacteria is how we build a strong immune system that can later fight colds and flu. Oversure of disinfecting products can do more harm than good, so don’t exaggerate.
11. They hit the gym
It shouldn’t surprise you that people who rarely get sick tend to hit the gym more often than those who frequently have runny nose. In fact, people who are physically active say they rarely catch a cold (and by rarely, they mean years).
Palinski-Wade says that even moderate exercise promotes a good immune system. A recent study pointed out that regular exercise can prevent catching common colds by as much as 50 percent. If you’re always sick, maybe it’s time to hit the gym.
And if you don’t like going to the gym, hit the park.
You may also want to read 10 Accepted Health ‘Facts’ That Are Actually False.