Ten Surprising Ways to Keep from Getting Sick: Plus Five tips if you Already Are

Ten Surprising Ways to Keep from Getting Sick: Plus Five tips if you Already Are
Photo by Alice Pasqual / Unsplash

We’ve heard it before. All the things to do to keep from getting sick. While some things are obvious, like washing your hands, staying away from sick people, and exercising regularly, I’m going to give you ten surprising things you can use to ward off sickness.

If it’s too late and you’re already ill, I’ve included five more things to get you feeling better.


1. Hydrate

Our bodies are largely composed of water. Staying hydrated helps to mobilize oxygen-rich blood and carry nutrients where they need to go. Lots of people would rather poke their eyes out than drink water, still it’s important.

·         Flavored water can be added to water to get enough down and meet your daily goals. (Roughly 13 cups/2.7 liters a day)

·         Green tea. Green tea has antioxidants that fight inflammation and in turn help our immunity

·         Coffee. Studies are showing that coffee in moderation has multiple health benefits. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, and boosting your immune system. Careful though, too much will have you up at night and could potentially lead to osteoporosis.


2. Don’t skip breakfast

Remember how breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It’s true. Fasting may be bad for fighting off infection. In a particular study, skipping meals triggered a response in the brain that negatively affected immune cells.

·         Try incorporating proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats

·         Limiting sugar is important as this can causse wide spread inflammation

·         Use whole grains sparingly


3. Sleep well

Sleep is indispensable. While we do it, the body repairs itself, removes waste, and the brain strengthens connections. Not getting enough can result in High blood pressure, anxiety and depression, heart disease, and a weakened immune system. In fact, people that get more than seven hours of sleep tend to stay healthier by 17.2%.

·         Aim for at least 7 hours

·         Try a new pillow or mattress pad

·         Need ear plugs? If your partner snores and keeps you up try these silicone ear plugs.

·         Staring at the walls? Try a sleep app, sleep aid (melatonin or valerian root) or visit your doctor.

4. Manage stress

We all have and deal with stress. However, chronic stress can affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally. While there’s the risk for elevated blood pressure, and stroke, there is also depression and weakened immunity.

One study says it’s simply believing in yourself as a healthy person. Psychological well-being helps immunity in this case.

·         Take a nature walk

·         Try some yoga

·         Journal and write down some things you’re grateful for

·         Talk to someone you trust

5. Cut back on drinking and smoking

Drinking alcohol in moderation may not be harmful, but in large amounts can be detrimental. Damage to the liver, brain and heart along with different types of cancer can occur from over consumption.  

Smoking accounts for 1 in 5 deaths in the US every year. It also increases your susceptibility to upper respiratory infections.

“Is vaping better?” you ask. No. 99% of them contain nicotine and other chemicals that are toxic to your lungs.

·         Moderation defined by the NIH is a 12 ounce beer, a 5 ounce wine, or 1.5 ounce 80 – proof of distilled spirits.

·         Try nicotine replacement, avoid triggers, Get support – Mayo Clinic

6. Keep your air filters clean

Keeping your HVAC filters changed every 30 days to 6 months. This depends on the quality of filter. Filtration is based on MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value).

·         Aim for a MERV rating between 7 and 13.

·         Adequately filtering your air can remove pollen, pet dander, dust molds, viruses, bacteria, vehicle exhaust, and emissions from smoke. All of which can make you sick.

7. Clean your phone

Researchers found that our phones carry ten times more bacteria than a toilet seat. This includes e-coli, MRSA and strep.

·         You can use a solution that is 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a soft cloth to clean the surface.

·         It’s recommended you clean your phone and case at least once a month and daily when you are sick.

8. Stay on top of dental hygiene

Poor oral health can lead to a lowered immune system. We have a limited number of immune cells. It they are diverted to fighting an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth, then there will be less to work elsewhere in the body.

·         Brush twice a day

·         Floss

·         Keep your regular dental visits


9. Vaccination

I know. I know. Vaccines aren’t for everyone, but if you do take them they help in two ways.

·         Defend against viruses

·         Decrease severity of symptoms if you do get sick

10. Vitamins

The following vitamins are staples for fighting off colds and viruses. Here are a few.

·         Zinc

·         Vitamin D

·         Omega-3 fatty acids or flax seed

·         Probiotics

If you're already down, try this:

1. Rest

Rest when you feel tired. Your body needs the extra rest. Like I said earlier, the body has to repair itself.

2. Drink more than your share

Your body needs more fluids than it normally would when you are sick. Especially if you are having fever.

·         Drink lots of water.

·         Ginger tea has anti-inflammatory properties than can help you feel better

·         Ginseng tea has long been used for healing. Having a little while you are sick can help cold and flu symptoms.

3. Take your probiotics

Research is emerging that good bacteria supplements to aid gut health can help with colds and viruses, because up to 70% of the immune system is based there. Here are some tips for choosing a good one.

·         Multiple strains. Different strains offer diverse benefits

·         CFU count (colony forming units) means more live bacteria. The more it has, the more effective

·         Ingredient transparency. They should be free of additives or fillers

·         Price. It should be a reasonable dose for price

·         Check the label for storage instructions! Some need to be refrigerated others just need to be kept cool and dry

4. Take your vitamins

While there is always conflicting evidence that taking vitamins after you are sick is actually helpful, there’s no harm in doing so. They even might shorten your recovery by a day.

·         A multi vitamin may be your best bet

·         Try an immunity supplement like emergen-C.

5. Eat

Some foods can be full of the nutrients you need.

·         Honey, Apples, blueberries and broccoli for the antioxidants.

·         Salmon for the zinc. Spinach for the vitamin C.

·         Eggs for the Vitamin D.

·         Dark chocolate has been helpful for coughing, due to its concentration of theobromine (antioxidant).

·          Extra virgin olive oil for the omega 3 fatty acids.

It's peak Flu season in winter. Also, illnesses like COVID-19, RSV, and Strep are very prevalent in some areas. I want you to your best to stay well, healthy, or at the very least, get well soon.

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