Avoid Getting Sick With These Helpful Tips

By Jake Schroeder
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Some people out there manage to stay healthy nearly all the time. What are their secrets? It’s not all just luck. As it turns out, there are certain things people who never get sick do that could very well help them to maintain their health. And trying the following tips could help you avoid getting sick, too. They’ll give you more time to be happy and productive rather than stuck in bed and miserable.

Get 8 Hours of Sleep

When you're sleeping, your body does a lot of work to help ward off sickness. It’s repairing itself and regulating stress hormones. Plus, your immune system goes into overdrive to clear out your system. All of these things make your body much less susceptible to falling ill.

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When a person gets fewer than six hours of sleep a night, they can end up missing out on many of the anti-illness measures the body takes during that eight-hour snooze. Get enough sleep, and you'll be giving yourself a great chance at staying healthy.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eat plenty of foods that are full of protein, vitamins and minerals if you want to stop getting sick all the time. Make it a habit that most of your meals provide your body with nutrition instead of just empty calories. Eat plenty of colorful fresh produce. This will give you a great chance of staying healthy.

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It’s also just as important to eat nutritious foods in the right quantities for your body. Overeating and undereating are not healthy practices and can lead to more frequent illnesses. Eating healthily can go a long way where your health is concerned.

Make Hugging a Habit

Hugging boosts your immune system by stimulating your thymus gland. A study of more than 400 adults by the Association for Psychological Science also found that hugging decreases the chances of a person getting sick. People who received more hugs got sick less often. Plus, when those people did get sick, their symptoms were milder.

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Hugging also reduces stress by releasing oxytocin in the body, prompting positive feelings instead of negative ones. Because high stress is linked to lower immune system function, this is just another reason to hug more often.

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Don't Be Too Clean

Being too clean is a thing, and you should avoid it if you want to avoid getting sick. Exposing yourself to some germs lowers the chances that you will get sick, as your body will already be prepared to deal with them.

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Overcleanliness, on the other hand, can lead to your body not knowing how to fight germs when they appear. So, if you want to make your immune system stronger, stop bleaching every surface in your house all the time. You don’t need to clean the toilet or sanitize your appliances every day.

Eat Lots of Garlic

A University of Copenhagen study found that garlic contains a chemical compound that prevents bacteria from hurting your immune system. It’s also widely known that garlic has other compounds that help the immune system fight off illnesses like viruses.

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Raw, whole garlic contains a compound that, when the cloves are crushed or chewed, turns into another compound called allicin. The allicin then turns into other compounds very quickly. Those other compounds help fight viruses and diseases. The bottom line is this: Eat lots of garlic, including raw garlic. You'll probably find yourself getting sick less.

Keep a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is good for your immune system and can help keep you from getting sick. Many studies have found this to be true, both in the short and long terms. For instance, if you feel yourself getting sick, staying positive might be just the trick to keep it from escalating to full-blown misery.

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Also, maintaining a positive attitude in general can keep your immune system working in high gear in terms of stopping sickness before it has a chance to affect you. That way, when illness enters your realm, it has a smaller likelihood of wreaking havoc on your body.

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Limit Your Sugar Intake

Sugar can get in the way of white blood cells trying to kill viruses and bacteria as they enter your system. In other words, sugar weakens your immune system. So if you want to stop yourself from getting sick so much, try eating less sugar.

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Sugar is pretty bad for your body overall. It's bad for your heart, it's bad for your teeth and it may even heighten your anxiety levels. Cut back on sugar and your body will be healthier overall, making it better prepared to fend off illness before it can start.

Give Yourself Leisure Time With Friends and Family

A solid social life creates a strong immune system for many reasons. First, enjoying yourself in a social setting can reduce stress, and stress is bad for your immune system. Positive social interactions and experiences are also linked to less damage to internal bodily systems from wear and tear.

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All of this means that spending time with friends and family — essentially, enjoying yourself and relaxing in good company — is an effective way to keep yourself from getting sick. Who would have thought being social was the answer to preventing illness?

Keep Your Stress Levels Low

People who are highly stressed tend to get sick more often, and it's not a coincidence. Stress lowers immune function in serious ways. It reduces the immune system's ability to attack unwanted pathogens, leaving you open to more potential infections.

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Cortisol, a stress hormone, can also lower the body's lymphocyte count, again reducing the immune system's effectiveness. If you want to be illness-free, don't let stress take over your life. If you find yourself feeling stressed at times, which is normal, figure out ways to manage it, such as meditating or talking with a counselor.

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Do Yoga

The health benefits of practicing yoga are numerous, including supporting a healthy immune system. Yoga is typically a relaxing practice, and a relaxed body and mind are better prepared to keep infections from making you sick.

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Also, people who practice yoga tend to be better at managing stressful situations. A study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that the immune systems of people who practice yoga regularly aren’t affected by stress nearly as much as those of people who don't practice yoga regularly.

Don't Let Your Feet Get Cold

Cold feet can cause reduced immune system functioning, says the director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University. When your feet are cold, it cues your body to conserve heat, meaning that it can stop circulating blood as readily.

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A decrease in blood flow equates to your body producing fewer white blood cells, and white blood cells help to fight off infections. As a result, your body can become more vulnerable to the effects of germs. Wear socks or slippers to keep your feet warm if you want to lower your chances of getting sick.

Keep Your Gut Healthy

Good bacteria inside of your gut can make your immune system more effective. A more effective immune system means a healthier you. One way to get good bacteria into your gut is to supply it with probiotics. You can find probiotics in many fermented foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha, to name a few.

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If you don't like or have access to probiotic-rich foods, you can always take probiotic supplements instead. Whatever you do, find a way to get probiotics into your body if you want to get sick less often.

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Include Plenty of Vitamin C in Your Diet

Vitamin C is incredibly good for the immune system. This has to do with the sheer number of immune system processes that vitamin C supports. If you're getting enough of it on a daily basis, your immune system will be a force to be reckoned with, and you may find yourself getting sick less.

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Whether your vitamin C is coming from fruits and vegetables — like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, bell peppers or broccoli — or even supplements, all that matters is that your body is absorbing enough daily to strengthen that immune system.

Take Cold Showers in the Morning

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking cold showers could help keep you from getting sick. This doesn't mean that you should take cold showers at night before you go to bed, because sleeping with wet hair can make you cold.

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However, taking cold showers in the morning can help you maintain a strong immune system by increasing your body's production of white blood cells. If taking an entire cold shower seems too difficult, you can still get some of the benefits by ending your shower with a minute or two of cold water.

Nap More

Getting seven or more hours of sleep a night can boost your immune system, but if for some reason that doesn't work out, napping can keep your immune system from slowing down anyway. Naps shorter than 30 minutes at least twice a day can rebuild some of the lost immune system functioning that comes with sleep deprivation.

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This is great news for people who have trouble sleeping through the night or often find themselves too busy to get their full seven to eight hours of sleep. Naps can come to your rescue by helping you ward off illness.

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Watch a Little Bit of Television

Watching a little bit of television has a stress-relieving effect on the body. Taking a break to relax and watch a show has been shown to reduce a person's risk of getting sick in some cases. This happens because stress and tension tend to disappear while you watch something enjoyable.

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When you're stressed, your body produces hormones that slow down its production of white blood cells. Just 30 minutes of watching TV can stop those stress hormones in their tracks, leaving your immune system better prepared to fight whatever illnesses might come your way.

Include Weightlifting in Your Life

If you keep your body's muscle mass beefed up, you stay fit, and your body's systems start to age slower. One of the reasons people tend to get sick more when they get older is for that very reason: Their immune systems just don't work as well as they used to.

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That's where lifting weights comes in. Add regular weight lifting to your daily or weekly fitness routines, and your whole body will be healthier overall, leaving you less likely to get sick. Work with a personal trainer to learn proper form and avoid injuring yourself.

Get Regular Massages

Massages nourish your cells with extra blood and oxygen by improving circulation. They also help you to relax. All of these things are linked to a healthy immune system, which makes getting regular massages a great idea to prevent illness.

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While massages can be expensive, consider the long-term savings on healthcare instead. Getting massages boosts your immune system. In turn, you may get sick less often, saving money on appointments and medication costs. Being sick less often also allows you to be more productive and happy in life, which is a huge benefit on its own.

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Wash Your Reusable Water Bottle After Every Use

Even if you're just drinking water, your great-for-the-environment reusable water bottle becomes not so great for your health if you're not washing it often enough. Tons of bacteria gather at the opening of the bottle, making it unsanitary to drink from unless you wash it regularly.

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The germs you find on your water bottle can easily lead to sickness. That's why washing it every day is imperative. Stainless steel bottles have also been found to be much more sanitary than plastic ones, so consider swapping.

Try Not to Touch Things in Public

When you're out in public, try not to touch things unnecessarily. This can assist you in your quest to avoid getting sick. The fact is, everything you touch has potentially been touched by hundreds of other people. Who knows what germs they’re carrying or if they even wash their hands regularly?

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Of course, it's not possible to keep your hands off everything. You have to press buttons in the elevator. You have to grab door handles. Try to minimize the length of time you're touching those things, and when you don't absolutely have to touch something, just don't.

Drink More Tea

You can boost your immune system by drinking a few cups of tea every day. Many teas, like green, black and oolong, have high amounts of a specific amino acid called L-theanine, which can directly help your body fight infection. The L-theanine boosts how well your gamma delta T cells work, and they’re your first line of defense to protect against infection.

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Once your body metabolizes L-theanine, the amino acid also produces ethylamine. Because disease agents also produce ethylamine, the immune system becomes more prepared to deal with pathogens if they happen to enter. It’s like training your body to respond to germs better.

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Spend Longer Washing Your Hands

If you don't wash your hands long enough, you put yourself at higher risk for catching illnesses. People who double their hand-washing time from 15 seconds to 30 seconds tend to get sick less often.

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The simple fact that you're giving yourself more time to get rid of the germs that have accumulated seems to be why this method works at helping you stay healthy. Also, remember that sink faucet handles are dirty. Use a paper towel to turn them off once you're done washing your hands.

Stand on Public Transportation

Public transportation, while it's better for the planet, can take a toll on your health. If someone coughs or sneezes, which they will, the pathogen-laden droplets can linger for quite a while. So, how can you defend yourself against getting sick if you're taking public transit?

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Stand up instead of sitting down on the bus or train. The handrails on the ceiling are usually less germ-infested than the vertical ones. Also, try not to touch your face until you've had the chance to wash your hands.

Take Vitamins

It's hard to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. That's where vitamins and supplements come in. If you and your doctor can figure out exactly what nutrients your body is missing — and for some reason you can’t get them from food — this approach to vitamins could be more effective than taking a daily multivitamin.

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As an example, many people lack B vitamins in their diets, and using a supplement can help keep them from getting sick. Brewer's yeast is one option that’s packed with B vitamins. If you want to get sick less often, make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs — with your doctor’s supervision, of course.

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Do Regular Cardio Workouts

One of the most effective ways to prevent illness is by staying active and exercising. Getting your heart pumping is essential. Research has found that people who do moderate cardio workouts for at least 30 minutes on most days get sick less often than their non-exercising peers.

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Cardio workouts improve your immune system and lower stress hormones, strengthening your immune system in the process. If you for some reason can't seem to find the time to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day, do as much as you can. Every little bit helps.

Drink Less Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can impair your immune system, meaning you'll be more likely to get sick if you consume alcohol often. Here’s how it works. Alcohol can negatively impact your digestive system, making it harder to absorb nutrients and leaving your gut full of unhealthy bacteria.

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An unhealthy gut can lead to bad bacteria ultimately causing the immune cells in your respiratory tract to perform much less effectively. So, keep your alcohol intake to a minimum, and you'll be more likely to keep illnesses at bay.

Stop Touching Your Face

Stop touching your face and you'll probably save yourself from catching some nasty illnesses — so says a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health. People who touch their faces often are around 41% more likely to contract upper respiratory infections.

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Not touching your face means not rubbing your eyes in the morning, not resting your hand on your chin or cheek — none of it. If you're finding it hard to keep your hands away from your face, try deliberately substituting that behavior with something else. For example, instead of rubbing your eyes, scratch your scalp gently.

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Get Lots of Fresh Air

People who spend a lot of time indoors tend to get sick more often than people who give themselves plenty of breaths of fresh air outside. This is true in both summer and winter, despite the fact that people think going out in cold weather can cause illness.

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On the contrary, if you're dressed right for winter weather, that fresh air can do more good than harm. Regardless of the season, give yourself a break and go outside from time to time. Doing so can keep you healthier.

Keep Your Pet's Food Bowl Clean

Wash your pet's food bowl regularly if you want to stop getting sick. Pet food bowls tend to be some of the dirtier places in the house, full of germs and even potential residue containing Salmonella or E. coli. Although you're not eating out of that bowl yourself, chances are you're touching it at least once in a while, so keep it clean.

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Regardless of whether you're feeding your pet wet or dry food, or if the bowl looks dirty or clean, it's best to give it the same wash you give your other dishes — at least a few times a week.

Mix Up Your Meals

You can keep yourself from getting sick by varying what you eat. Don't eat the same things all the time, even if they’re healthy foods. Each food has its own catalog of nutrients, many of which go under the radar because they aren't some of the main ones you frequently hear about and realize you need, like vitamin C.

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By changing up what you eat from day to day, you're allowing a wider variety of nutrients to enter your system. This can create synergy in how the nutrients work together to make your body function at its best.

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