No one likes to get sick, but the truth is adults can expect to catch an average of two to three colds every year, while kids tend to get more.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to prevent coming down with a case of the sniffles if you’re proactive about protecting yourself. Self-care and keeping your hands clean will go a long way at keeping viruses away year-round. Here’s how to prevent getting sick by following five important daily habits.
- Wash Your Hands Often
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but washing your hands after touching any public surface is still one of the best ways to prevent getting ill. Regular soap and water will do—just be sure to take the time to actually wash and soap up your hands, not quickly run them underneath water. And refrain from touching your face and rubbing your eyes until your hands are clean.
Wearing gloves, especially when you open doors or pump gas, will also help prevent germs from getting on your hands.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick if you’re exposed to a virus, but it can help your body fight off the infection. Our body produces a protein called cytokine while we sleep, which helps fight off inflammation. It’s also important to get enough rest when you do come down with a cold or flu.
Create a nighttime routine that helps your body wind down so you can fall asleep faster. This may include shutting off mobile devices and taking a warm shower or bath to help you relax.
- Eat Antioxidants
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables will help keep your immune system strong. Produce that contains vitamins C and A such as citrus fruits, watermelon, red peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and kale can help you stay healthy and is good for your overall general health. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can also help you stay healthy.
Constant stress makes our body produce cortisol, which can pummel our immune system over time. Stress can also make it more difficult to fall asleep. This makes it easier to catch a virus.
Try to keep stress at bay by meditating, exercising (which also benefits the immune system), yoga, and doing activities you enjoy.
- Take Supplements
Taking certain supplements and herbal remedies at the first sign of a cold may help ease symptoms and shorten the duration. Zinc and echinacea are noted for their cold-fighting properties. You will have to take them consistently and as soon as you feel a cold coming on for them to be the most beneficial.
Studies also show that Elderberry extract, found in syrup and gummies, can help fight the flu if taken right away.
Be prepared and keep these remedies as well as cold medicine stocked in case you get sick. It’s also a good idea to know where the nearest COVID testing site is near you if you think you’re dealing with the coronavirus.
Remember How to Prevent Getting Sick
Keep these five tips in mind so you’ll know how to prevent getting sick this winter season as well as year-round.
Check out our healthy recipes section for meal ideas that can help keep your immune system strong so you can prevent catching colds or the flu.