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6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

Published on October 11, 2014 by Staff Writer

Broadview UniversityColder weather means holidays, family gatherings and, unfortunately, more chances of getting sick.

While there’s no foolproof method for preventing a common cold or flu, your risks can be greatly minimized by taking a few precautionary steps.

Professionals in the medical field, such as doctors, nurses and medical assistants, see patients every day whose ailments could have been prevented with better health habits.

Here are six tips for staying healthy this winter.

1.  Use hand sanitizer

You don’t have to be a germaphobe on the same level as Jack Nicholson’s character from As Good as It Gets to recognize the importance of hand sanitizer.

Hand washing is of course preferable and should be done often, but sometimes we’re not where sinks and hand soap are readily available. This is why carrying hand sanitizer is a smart alternative.

Just think of all the germs you come into contact with on shopping carts, at the gas station, in the breakroom at work or at any number of public places. Keep the germs at bay by using hand sanitizer.

2.  Eat healthyBroadview University

As delicious as iHop’s seasonal pumpkin pancakes are—drizzled with chocolate syrup and a heavy dose of whipped cream—they’re simply not going to boost your immune system like good old fashioned fruits and vegetables.

That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge once in a while, but try to make fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and other health foods part of your everyday diet. Take a daily multivitamin to help fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.

3.  Regularly sanitize your home and office

Some viruses can live for up to 48 hours on hard surfaces. Those pesky germs are just patiently waiting for a warm body to call home!

Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs, cleans everything that gets used by several people at least once a week, including microwaves, fax machines, keys, doorknobs and elevator buttons.

Stock up on disinfecting wipes and make it a habit to wipe down your home and office areas frequently.

4.  Keep your hands to yourself

Our hands are usually the first culprits of bacteria, which is why keeping them clean is essential during cold and flu season.

But we can also practice good preventative habits such as not touching public furniture or devices unless we have to. Think railings, desks, countertops, door handles, etc.

Try keeping your hands in your pockets and see how much you actually have to touch in public. You might be surprised!

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5.  Get enough sleep

Just like a good diet boosts our immune system, getting enough sleep does, too.

Stress and sleep deprivation release the hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function. Sleeping at least eight hours a night helps our bodies stay in peak condition, warding off potential sickness.

6.  Exercise

Getting regular exercise is also known to boost immune system, but hitting it too hard at the gym could have the opposite effect.

Research suggests that moderate exercise—30 minutes, three to four times a week—strengthens defenses against infection, and that being fit and active cuts cold by nearly 50 percent.

 

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