It’s no fun being sick. As you can imagine, sick days take quite a toll on Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infectious diseases are blamed for millions of school days missed each year by students. The American economy loses about $576 billion annually due to sick days.
Missing work and losing income are just part of the problem; viruses like the flu result in thousands of hospitalizations and can even lead to death.
Everyone gets sick on occasion, but many contagious illnesses are avoidable.
If you take a few simple precautions during cold and flu season, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to stay healthy and get sick less often.
1. Wash Your Hands
Proper hygiene is often the best defense against the most offensive germs. By keeping your hands washed you are both protecting yourself from germs and reducing the risk of passing your germs on to others.
Be sure to wash your hands:
- After you cough or sneeze
- When you use the restroom
- Before eating or preparing meals
Any situation that will bring you into contact with germs is a valid reason to wash your hands.
2. Get Proper Rest
It is extremely important to get a good night’s sleep; so important that failure to do so can make you vulnerable to illness. A lack of proper sleep can even cause a cold to linger, as it’s harder for your body to recover without adequate bed rest.
The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to feel their best during the day.
3. Get More Vitamin D
Although vitamin C has been touted for decades as the most important vitamin you can take for boosting your immune system, your body actually benefits from a host of vitamins and minerals.
Often overlooked is vitamin D.
A 2011 study found that vitamin D isn’t just important for building strong bones; it also directly impacts the immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Vitamin D deficiency has recently been linked to how susceptible a person is to getting sick.
If you’re concerned about how much of this important vitamin you’re getting, be sure to eat foods rich in vitamin D.
4. Learn to Love Garlic
Garlic is one of the most potent and important superfoods around. Raw garlic is often taken regularly to reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also used to fight off cold and flu viruses.
The reason garlic is such a popular cure-all is because it contains high levels of allicin. This chemical is what gives garlic its rather pungent odor. It’s also what is believed to help improve one’s everyday health.
5. Be Happy and Laugh Often
There is some truth to the saying that laughter is the best medicine. It’s believed that hearty and frequent laughter can reduce stress and boost the immune system.
Laughter is said to raise natural killer immune cells, high levels of which can help make deadly diseases more treatable, increasing one’s chances of survival. Studies also show that positive people get sick far less often than their worried and stressed-out counterparts.
These tips are a mixtures of common sense and surprising facts, but every single tip is believed to help you stay healthy. Take the time to invest in your good health and you’ll likely find that illness becomes a far less frequent occurrence.