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Donít Want to Get Sick? 10 Steps to Avoid Illness

Posted 02-08-2013 at 02:33 PM by ChristaIB
Updated 10-16-2013 at 11:25 AM by ChristaIB

In the winter months, you may be trying to avoid illness during the cold and flu season. Unfortunately, spending more time inside during cold weather increases our exposure to germs and person-to-person transmission of illnesses. This makes it more difficult to stay healthy.

To help you dodge the dreaded flu, or even the common cold, it is vital that you keep your immune system functioning at optimum level. There are many factors that can weaken your body's natural defense or immunity to germs. Luckily, there are things you can do to boost your immunity, and also to limit your exposure to contagions. Taking measures to prevent illness is never a 100% guarantee, but you can maximize your chances for keeping yourself healthy this winter by taking the following steps:

Take These Steps to Stay Healthy

Step 1: First and foremost, do your best to avoid being around sick people (reschedule meetings or lunch dates until after theyíve had symptoms for 5-7 days or so, if possible)

Step 2: Get the flu shot! Getting it early in the season is best because it takes 2-3 weeks for your body to build the antibodies against the strain of inactive flu virus that is delivered via the vaccine. However, getting the flu shot any time in the season is helpful.

Step 3: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Scrub your hands vigorously for a full 20 seconds is the best way. Both the soap and friction will wash away the germs. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be as effective as hand washing if you are on-the-go or in a hurry. Be sure to choose a reputable brand of sanitizer Ė one that is says it will kill 99.9% of germs on contact.

Step 4: Get enough sleep, at least 6-8 hours per night.

Step 5: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. If you arenít always able to eat balanced, home-cooked meals, taking multi-vitamin supplements are a good way to support your nutrition and, therefore, your immunity.

Step 6: Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day to stay hydrated and flush out toxins.

Step 7: Get moderate exercise at least three times per week. If the flu is going around at your gym, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face (and transferring germs youíve come into contact with on shared gym equipment.) Better yet, opt for walking!

Step 8: Keep stress levels under control. It is always a good practice to take a deep breath and think things through before you react. Consider taking a yoga or Tai Chi class if you need help reducing your stress levels.

Step 9: Sneeze or cough into the crook of your bent elbow in order to keep germs off of your hands or spreading through the air. Politely remind others around you to do the same.

Step 10: Disinfect contaminated surfaces, especially in the common areas, kitchen and bathroom. Try using a disinfecting wipe that includes bleach for a quick and easy way to eliminate germs.

Being proactive about your preventive health can take a little extra caution and awareness but will go a long way to helping you avoid getting sick this winter.

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