By Arnelle Pierre-Louis
It’s flu season, with allergy season quickly making its way here. That means that most people around you might have a sniffle here, a cough there, and a slight fever everywhere. With the rising concerns of how to stay safe during this season, we have decided to do our research and share it with you all a few tips to protect and boost your immune system.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
I can’t stress enough how important this is. According to numerous articles, washing your hands regularly can help prevent illnesses and prevent an infection from spreading to others. Just think about it, when you leave your house you are touching a multitude of surfaces that may or may not be clean. This is especially true if you take public transportation each day. My advice would be to wash your hands whenever you get to your destination. Especially wash your hands before you touch your food and if you cough/sneeze into your hands. When you wash your hands, it’s recommended that you scrub your hands with soap for at least 26 seconds. That’s the length of singing the ABCs. (I would sing it out loud, but to avoid the weird looks, just sing it in your head!)
Sneeze OR Cough into your arm, not your hand
When you sneeze without covering your mouth, do you know how many germs are being spread? A 50 little germs? 100 germs? 1,000 germs? The winning number is *drum roll*... 100,000 GERMS! You read that right. Every time someone sneezes there are approximately 100,000 contagious germs that fly out of your nose at a rate of 100 miles per hour. When you cough or sneeze without covering your mouth those germs can travel about 6 to 8 feet. So that means that if anyone is around you when you sneeze or cough without covering those areas, they have a chance of getting sick. So, what can you do? Cough and sneeze into your arm. By doing this you aren’t spreading contagious germs to everyone and you are being courteous to those around you.
No place to wash your hands? Use hand sanitizer.
If you accidentally cough or sneeze into your hand there are times where there isn’t a sink and hand soap waiting for you. You look at your hand that is now filled with all your germs and try to figure out what to do. However, there is no need to stress because you have your trusty hand sanitizer with you...well, hopefully. Having hand sanitizer on hand can truly help kill germs. If you are someone who does not like the traditional hand sanitizer or can’t find it, there are many alternative recipes online that will do the job naturally. My favorite recipe is one a got from the Live Simply blog!
Exercise at least twice a week for 30 minutes and eat foods the boost your immune system.
I know that everyone always says this but it’s true. Staying active and eating right can help your immune system tremendously. After you work out, white blood cells called neutrophils are better able to fight off any pathogens in your system. This means that if you have a cold then "sweating it out" can help your body fight it off with better ease.
Eating vegetables and some fruit will also help to boost your immune system. Dark leafy greens and fruits like Kiwis are high in vitamins that will help your system. I know that we all have busy lives and at times we can’t find the time to work out or grab something healthy. However, making this a high priority can help make your immune system stronger.
If you feel sick, please go to your doctor.
Don’t push going to the doctors to a couple of days. If you are not feeling well, go and consult your doctor to be sure of what you may or may not have. Listen to your body when it’s telling you that it needs some rest or when it feels off. This is the one body that you will have, so you might as well try to take good care of it.
We want everyone to stay safe and vigilant this season. Do your research, take your vitamins, wash your hands, and take good care of your body to avoid getting sick. Most importantly if you do feel sick, go to your doctor as soon as you possibly can. However, we know that there are times when you can not go to your doctor. In that case, explore virtual care options with your healthcare provider.