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Water, sleep and positive: 20 daily habits of people who rarely get sick

Why is it easy for some people to avoid colds and flu? Edition The Healthy collected 20 habits that are rarely followed by sick people.

Photo: Shutterstock

Taking precautions and building habits that promote good health can make a difference when it comes to reducing exposure to certain microbes. Although it is always possible to get sick, these habits can calm your mind, knowing that you are doing everything you can to stay healthy.

They push the elevator buttons with a bent finger

Daily activities can increase the risk of catching a cold, and this includes touching public surfaces. Partha Nandi, MD, lead physician and author of Ask Dr. Nandi, advises avoiding touching common surfaces whenever possible. “Even after you've washed your hands, use a paper towel to turn off the tap,” he says.

They drink enough water

When you drink enough water, germs are flushed out. "Maintain a hybrid balance," advises Renee Miranda, MD, a family medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. How to find out how much to drink? “Take your weight in pounds, halve it, and that's about as many ounces of water as you need per day,” she says. "For example, a 150 lb (68 kg) person needs about 75 ounces (2,21) of water per day."

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They do not save on sleep

When you don't get enough sleep, your immune system suffers and you are more prone to illness. “Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for the body,” says Dr. Miranda. "When we sleep, the body has a chance to heal, recover and rejuvenate." She recommends sleeping at least six to eight hours a night.

They sanitize their phones and car keys

The screen of your phone is much dirtier than you thought, because it collects germs from any surfaces on which you put it during the day. In addition, your hands can transfer germs to your phone, as well as other items that you touch regularly, but you probably don’t clean them, such as car keys or a computer keyboard.

“When someone in the house is sick, I disinfect surfaces you wouldn't normally think of: doorknobs, faucets, toilet bowls, light switches, telephones and remote controls,” says New Jersey mom Jenna Banafato. Dr. Nandi advises using bleach-free disinfectant wipes to clean keyboards and other office surfaces. “Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down things that others use,” he says.

They get the flu shot

The flu shot is probably the most important barrier between you and the flu. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination every year is the only best way to protect yourself from influenza.

“It is very important that you are aware of all your vaccines,” says Dr. Miranda. The flu shot isn't perfect, but it's your best bet. Flu shots may not protect against every strain of the virus, and you could still get sick — you just have milder symptoms than if you hadn't been vaccinated.

They practice yoga or meditation.

Stress has a negative effect on your immune system.

“My husband rarely gets sick, and I think it's because he rarely gets stressed,” says Katsia Putnam of Morristown, New Jersey. “To boost your immune system, manage your stress,” says Dr. Miranda. "Start with some form of breathing exercise or meditation practice daily to help reduce stress levels."

Frank Lipman, MD, a bestselling author and founder of Be Well, also advises on meditation, while Dr. Nandy offers yoga to help deal with stress.

They take zinc

Vitamin C is effective for colds, but what about zinc? The results of the study were mixed, but a review of the Open Forum on Infectious Diseases showed that those who took zinc during the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms had a shorter duration of colds.

“If you are taking zinc, take it in syrup or lozenge form, which allows it to remain in your throat where it can come into contact with the virus,” says nutrition and fitness expert Erin Palinsky-Wade, RD, CDE, author of The Fat Diet for Dummies". "Zinc nasal sprays are not recommended as they can lead to loss of smell."

They go outside

Even when it's cold, in snowy weather you can enjoy a walk with the whole family.

“Going outside for a change of scenery, walking and breathing fresh air promotes a more active lifestyle, helps blood circulation, relieves stress and improves well-being,” says Dr. Miranda. “Often, many of us sit in front of a computer screen, TV or mobile phone for hours.”

In warm weather, Dr. Lipman also suggests cycling and walking barefoot on the ground to connect with nature.

They drink warm water

While any kind of hydration is beneficial, there are surprising benefits of drinking hot drinks - helping you if you get sick. Some studies show that warm water can improve the flow of mucus through the nasal passages, helping to reduce the symptoms of sinus inflammation. In addition to hot tea, Dr. Nandi suggests, "Drink warm water with honey and some organic lemon juice, and also warm water with a cinnamon stick."

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They wash their nose

Nasal irrigation may have some benefit in preventing nasal infections. Because the germs that cause infections are airborne, “exposure can be reduced by simply flushing the nostrils with clean saline,” says herbalist Tami Bronstein, owner of The Medical Herbalist. "Aim the spray nozzle at the inner tip of the nose - this is where the rhinovirus propagates."

They consume essential oils

“When I feel like I'm getting infected, I put a couple of drops of essential oils on my body and after a couple of hours I start feeling better,” says Karla Tappen from Morristown, NJ. - My favorite immunity booster is oregano. I apply it to the soles of my feet and the spine. "

Dr. Nandi also recommends that patients “take natural oils” to avoid illness. Although more research is needed, some essential oils, such as cinnamon leaves, eucalyptus oil and bergamot oil, may have antiviral activity. In addition, according to the National Sleep Fund, essential oils can contribute to better sleep.

They have sex

“Sex can strengthen your immune system because it’s fun and relieves stress,” says Dr. Miranda. "If we really think so, then your immunity will be increased as a result."

They are not hermaphobes

If you are one of those people who are wondering if the soap really holds germs, you may be more likely to get sick because you are too concerned about cleaning.

“Sure, wash your hands after using the toilet, but don't go crazy disinfecting everything,” says Cathy Rae of Syracuse, New York, who says she rarely gets sick. "I think my parents let me get dirty and it strengthened my immune system."

Dr. Lipman says there are some scientific reasons for this.

“Microbes are very important to our health and immunity as they keep our microbiome and our immune system functioning optimally,” she says. "Exposure to all kinds of bacteria is how we build the immune system."

Overuse of products that kill both good and bad germs, including antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and antibiotics, can have negative consequences for our health.

They visit the gym.

Exercise is certainly beneficial and can also help your body respond to infection. Rey is a jogger and believes regular exercise is one of the reasons she never gets sick.

“Regular, moderate exercise can improve the immune system and help prevent disease,” says Palinsky-Wade. "One small study showed that regular exercise prevents colds."

They change their hand towels

How often should you wash your bath towels? Every two to three days. But hand towels are even more susceptible to pathogens because multiple people use them - so they need to be changed every day.

“Viral transmission can happen quite quickly at home,” says Dr. Nandi. “Therefore, if a family member is sick, changing sheets and pillowcases daily can also help reduce the likelihood of transmission.”

They are friends with cabbage

Tappen believes her vegetarian diet supports her health. "Vegetables are full of antioxidants that fight free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system," says Palinsky-Wade. - Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamin C, which may help shorten the duration of a cold a little. Spinach and mushrooms are also good sources of zinc, which has been shown to also reduce the duration of colds. ” Dr. Miranda also advises eating fewer processed foods.

They consume green tea

According to Molecules research conducted in 2018, among the many beneficial properties of green tea, there is a boost to the immune system.

“Green tea appears to have an impact on reducing the incidence of the virus as well as shortening its duration,” says Palinsky-Weid. "The antioxidants in green tea have been found to block the various phases of infection in healthy cells, weaken the virus, and shorten the duration of cold and fever symptoms."

They get together with friends

Laughter is really the best medicine, and sharing happy times with loved ones can increase the likelihood that you will be healthy.

“The human body adapts to whatever environment you expose it to, so if you expose it to an environment with a lot of negative stressors, such as negative thoughts and people who don't support you, the body is more stressed and it has negative impact on your overall health, says Dr. Miranda. "When you expose your body to a positive environment, support friends and family, and work to relieve stress with laughter therapy, the body experiences less stress and it has positive health benefits."

A study at the National Academy of Sciences showed that strong social relationships can have a positive effect on life expectancy. So communicating with friends and family, even virtually, can be useful in many ways.

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They eat yogurt

It's time to find out facts about probiotics that bring a lot of health benefits, including preventing you from getting sick. Contained in yogurt, fermented foods, some cheeses and additives, they regulate beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut microbiome. Banafato says adding a quality probiotic helps her stay healthy.

“Most of our immune system is based on our gut,” says Palinsky-Wade. "A healthy gut reduces inflammation in the body, allowing it to better fight off potential infections."

They think positively

“Our mental health has a huge impact on our physical health,” says Dr. Lipman. "Stress is a great example of this, as we often see and feel how much it can affect our mental and physical well-being."

Therefore, negative emotions can weaken your body’s defenses against disease.

“Mind and body are not separate, and a good attitude towards life can change the world for the better,” says Dr. Miranda. Research has shown that optimism can have a positive effect on everything from disease outcomes to longevity.

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