Health is front-of-mind across the world due to COVID-19. It is more important than ever to follow common tips for staying well, which includes washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and wiping down surfaces that are touched frequently.
These tips will help us now, but they are also able to help us when it comes to other illnesses too, like the flu and cold. The trouble is, there’s a lot more to staying well when others are getting sick than washing your hands and not touching your face.
Here are a few things you can build into your lifestyle that will help prevent you from getting sick, even after the COVID-19 outbreak is over.
Hit The Hay
Stress is rampant, especially during COVID-19 when we’re all being asked to stay home, and many of us no longer have jobs. Stress is the enemy of sleep, but it is never more important to get plenty of shut eye than when a bug is going around.
A lack of sleep can affect your immune system. That’s because cytokines are released during sleep that can reduce infection and inflammation. In addition, infection-fighting cells are reduced when you are sleepless.
How much sleep you need is a little different for everyone, but you should aim for no less than seven hours of sleep time in bed every night. Creating a comfortable, dark, and cool atmosphere can help you get the sleep you need.
Move Your Body
Exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it turns out, it can prevent you from getting sick too.
Any time you work to improve your fitness, you are boosting your immune system at the same time. The more regularly you exercise, the more you support your immune system, and the better it will be at fighting off infections.
Hitting the gym and running a marathon are great ways to move your body, but exercising doesn’t have to be so intense. You can still get an immune system boost by:
- Going for a walk
- Gardening in the backyard
- Taking the stairs
- Doing stretches at your desk
Eat Healthy Foods
There are a million reasons to eat healthy foods. Healthy foods fuel your body, providing you with more energy on a daily basis. Eating healthy foods regularly can increase your lifespan, and the right diet can also help keep you from getting sick.
Immune-boosting foods are an especially great choice if you notice that others around you are getting sick, but they’re also wonderful to add to your diet to keep you healthier all year long.
Just a few options include:
- Ginger Tea – contains anti-inflammatory properties that can boost your body’s immune response.
- Oranges – are packed with vitamin C, which can lower the duration and severity of a cold.
- Greek Yogurt – its probiotic content can reduce your risk of catching a cold.
- Blueberries – are packed with antioxidants that can treat and prevent coughs and colds.
Quit Smoking And Drinking
There are many reasons to stop smoking. One is to prevent the flu and other illnesses.
Studies have shown that those who smoke catch the flu more easily than others. It weakens the body’s ability to fight off the virus. It can also make your experience of having the flu even worse, in addition to exacerbating conditions that are commonly experienced by smokers, like COPD, bronchitis, and asthma.
It’s also a good idea to quit drinking alcohol, especially during cold and flu season. It affects the way gut microbes interact with the immune system, disrupting the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood.
Get Regular Health Screenings
The last thing you want to do if you feel like you’re in good health is make a trip to your doctor, but regular checkups are important to your overall health, and they can help prevent you from getting sick.
Scheduling annual checkups enables you to talk with your doctor about health concerns you have been experiencing over the last year, but they will also inform you which health screenings you should pursue. They will measure your blood pressure, suggest cancer screenings, depending on your age and history, and when it’s time to get the flu shot, all helping to keep you healthy all year long.
If you want to prevent illness, handwashing is important, but there are many other things you can do that will help you stay as healthy as possible, even during cold and flu season.