Sick secrets

In Health & Lifestyles on November 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm

By: Tinsley Tullos

Do you ever wonder how to avoid that time of year when your life is interrupted by an awful virus? Live the year ache-free and cough-free with just a few secrets to avoid sickness. Experts state that the most important step to avoid this phase in life is to first get the flu shot. The rest of the pre-cautionary steps will further boost the virus protection.

"Damp hands are far more likely to spread bacteria than dry ones, “Dana Simpler, primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, said. Photo courtesy of Google images

While the indoors house warm and toasty environments, they also house close-knit communities of germs and other harmful inhabitants. Not only does the fresh air break up the germs, but it also enhances the immune system. “Exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils, and monocytes, which ultimately increases immune function,” Ather Ali, assistant director of Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, said.

Reducing stress is always a must, especially when it comes to fighting the common cold. Stress hormones like glucocorticoids are released over the course of one’s period of stress. These hormones block the body’s ability to produce disease-fighting molecules called cytokines. “You’re also less likely to take care of yourself—get ample sleep, eat right, exercise—when you’re stressed,” Ali says. These activities are crucial for rebuilding the immune system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, soap and water remain to be the best disease-fighting tools. It is best to keep one’s hands away from the eye, nose and mouth as much as possible. Bar soaps collect germs, so pump soap or hands-free soap dispensers are great alternatives.  When washing hands, wash for 20 seconds with regular hand soap and dry thoroughly. “Damp hands are far more likely to spread bacteria than dry ones, “Dana Simpler, primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, said.

The hours of sleep requirements are no longer varied depending upon the person. It is said that anything short of seven hours per night can severely affect the immune system, and can nearly triple the chance of catching a cold. One’s average nightly sleep should come with limited interruptions and mid-night awakenings. Many of us chose to have a nightly quiet time once he/she lies in bed, but that could unfortunately interfere with sleep.

The holiday season is too joyous to be spent ill. Take these steps into consideration and reduce contamination. The key is to take it easy on one’s body; to remain stress-free and well rested. Although life is busy, it is never too busy to resist disease.


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