Did that guy sitting next to you on the train just sneeze? Is that girl in class coughing? It's the start of cold and flu season and you're on high alert, avoiding anyone who might be spreading germs to make you sick. But aside from hiding in your apartment for the next three months, what else can you do to boost your immune system and avoid getting sick? The experts weigh in below.
1. Eat Right
Choosing a diet that's rich in antioxidant-packed foods will keep your immune system kicking and help you stay healthy, even when everyone around you is sick. Of course, citrus comes to mind first, but there's also fish, yoghurt, tea, red peppers, blueberries, and more.
2. Work(out) Work(out) Work(out)
If you want to stave off a cold this year, make sure you keep your fitness regimen — skipping workouts and staying sedentary can literally make you sick! Run, bike, do yoga, swim, hit the gym, whatever you do, keep moving and you'll keep healthy.
Your immune system (and your whole body) needs rest to work properly, so make sure you're getting your eight hours of restful sleep each night, especially this time of year. Eve sneak in a 20-minute power nap on weekends to help.
4. Wash up!
Viruses and germs and bacteria can all live on so many of the things we touch all day, every day, so make sure you wash your hands frequently, especially before and after eating and (of course) after using the restroom. All you really need is 30 seconds, warm water, and plain old soap. Can't wash? Keep hand sanitizer in your bag or desk and use that instead.
5. Guts, Girl!
A healthy gut means better health all around, including a super-powered immune system. Add probiotics to your diet, either with foods like kimchi, or with a supplement. Doesn't Jamie Lee Curtis promote something exactly for this? Check that out, too.
6. Stop Stressing
Stress can really wear you down, leaving you open to so many ailments. What a coincidence, then, that exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of sleep can help reduce stress, right? Also, blocking that rotten frenemy on your Facebook feed and learning to tell your mom "no" once in a while can help, too.
7. Stop Shaking Hands
This time of year, it's totes okay to stop shaking hands, hugging, and kissing people you know are sick. No one will be offended, and if you do somehow get sick, return the favor by not being offended when no one wants to get close to you, either. In fact, stay home! And if you want to take it one step farther, lobby Congress to legislate adequate paid time off for illnesses.
How do you keep colds, flus, and other nasties away? Do you have some weird family remedy that works, or another magical stay-healthy suggestion to share?