10 Ways To Avoid Getting Sick In The First Place
Nobody likes being sick, yet every year we battle awful symptoms that can take days or weeks to recover from. According to the Mayo Clinic, Healthy adults can expect to have two or three colds each year. Infants and young children may have even more frequent colds. Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days." While there's no surefire way to prevent sickness, there are ways to lower the risk and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who shares 10 tips on how to help avoid getting sick. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
You Can Prevent Sickness with Health Lifestyle Choices
Dr. Mitchell reveals, "In my over a decade of practicing family medicine, it has become clear to me the behaviors of patients that often led to them becoming sick. As primary care physicians, we are often patients' first contact with the health system and are skilled in identifying and treating most conditions. However, some behaviors are customary among those who frequently become sick. While the tips I will give you, in no particular order, are not foolproof, but are something to consider and talk to your health care providers about."
Dr. Mitchell shares, "Sexual activity has been linked with various health benefits, from improved heart health and increased immunity to reduced stress levels and improved sleep. For example, one study even found that people who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of a specific antibody than those who had sex less often. Given the many potential benefits, it's no wonder that sexual activity is often prescribed to improve overall health and well-being. Who knows, you might even start to see a boost in your health and happiness after incorporating regular sexual activity into your life."
"Yoga, with a clean mat, of course!," Dr. Mitchell emphasizes. "Though the jury is still out on whether yoga can directly impact the immune system, some evidence suggests that it may help decrease your chances of getting sick. Regular yoga practice was associated with a decrease in colds and other respiratory infections. Yoga can help to reduce stress levels, which may also play a role in boosting immunity. Although more studies are needed to confirm these findings, there is reason to believe that yoga may benefit overall health and wellness. As such, it may be worth incorporating into your routine, especially if you are looking for ways to boost your immunity."
Dr. Mitchell explains, "Vitamin D is essential for many functions in the body, including bone health, muscle function, and immunity. Some research suggests that vitamin D may also help to protect against various infections, such as respiratory tract infections and the flu. While it is still unclear exactly how vitamin D affects the immune system, some evidence suggests that it may help to regulate immune cell activity and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory tract infections. Therefore, taking a vitamin D supplement may help to boost immunity and reduce your risk of getting sick."
Wash Your Hands
Dr. Mitchell reminds us, "Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself and others from illness. When done correctly, it can remove harmful bacteria and viruses, preventing them from spreading. Unfortunately, many people do not wash their hands properly or do not wash them often enough. As a result, they are at increased risk of becoming sick. The good news is that everyone can take some easy steps to ensure their hands are clean. First, it is essential to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This will help to remove any dirt or bacteria that may be present. Secondly, scrub all surfaces of your hands, including the palms, backs, fingers, and nails. Finally, rinse your hands thoroughly with clean water. Following these simple steps can significantly reduce your risk of becoming sick. Hand-washing is a critical practice that can help prevent disease spread. At a buffet, washing your hands before eating is essential. Buffet tables often have a lot of traffic, and utensils can quickly become contaminated. By washing your hands, you can help to reduce the risk of contracting a foodborne illness. In addition, it is always a good idea to use a napkin or other barrier when handling serving utensils. This will help to protect you from coming into contact with any harmful bacteria. So next time you're at a buffet, remember to wash your hands and stay healthy!"
Avoid Being Around Sick People
"Avoiding being around sick people is in your best interest unless you are a healthcare professional or other frontline worker," Dr. Mitchell reminds us. "This is especially important if you are elderly or have underlying health conditions at risk for more severe illness. While it may be difficult to avoid all contact with sick people altogether, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. For example, you can wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. You can also clean surfaces that are likely to be contaminated, such as door handles and countertops. If you must be around someone sick, wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet. Taking these simple precautions can help protect yourself from becoming sick."
Dr. Mitchell states, "It would be incorrect of me not to list smoking as a risk factor for contracting an illness. Smoking is, after all, a risk factor for nearly every negative health outcome. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that are harmful to the body, and these chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. From there, they circulate throughout the body and can cause damage to almost every organ and system. In addition to the direct effects of cigarette smoke, smoking also increases the likelihood of developing infections, as it impairs the function of the immune system. The bottom line is that smoking is a severe health hazard, and anyone who smokes is at risk for many illnesses."
According to Dr. Mitchell, "Numerous studies have shown that staying physically active can reduce your chance of getting sick. While the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood, it is thought that physical activity helps to boost the immune system. Exercise also helps improve circulation, allowing the body to more effectively transport white blood cells and other infection-fighting cells throughout the body. In addition, physical activity helps to reduce stress levels, which can weaken the immune system. While many ways to stay physically active, moderate exercise, such as walking or biking for 30 minutes daily, can significantly impact overall health. As such, staying physically active is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing your risk of illness."
Limiting Or Avoiding Alcohol
Dr. Mitchell tells us, "Alcohol is a substance that can have many effects on the human body, both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, alcohol can cause slurred speech, impaired judgment, and slowed reflexes. In the long term, heavy drinking can lead to liver disease, heart disease, and various types of cancer. Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption is one of the best ways to protect your health. When you drink alcohol, your body has to work harder to process the substance. This strains your organs, particularly your liver, and can weaken your immune system. As a result, you are more susceptible to illnesses such as colds and flu. So if you want to stay healthy, it's best to limit your alcohol intake or avoid it altogether."
"Your grandmother may have been on to something when she told you to suck on lemons, drink ginger tea, and add honey to various liquids," says Dr. Mitchell. "These simple ingredients can help reduce your chances of getting sick. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe a sore throat. Green tea contains antioxidants, which have been shown to protect cells from damage. And honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infection. So next time you're feeling under the weather, reach for one of these home remedies and see if it doesn't help you feel better soon."
Chicken Noodle Soup
Dr. Mitchell states, "Jack Canfield, the author of the well-known book series, might have been onto something when he wrote that chicken noodle soup series. The jury is still unsure whether chicken noodle soup can help protect you from getting sick. Some studies suggest that broth-based soup may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to lessen the symptoms of a cold or flu. However, chicken noodle soup is unlikely to provide significant protection against illness and is certainly no substitute for vaccination or good hygiene practices. So, while a bowl of chicken noodle soup may provide some comfort if you're feeling under the weather, it's probably not going to do much to prevent you from getting sick in the first place."