4 Secrets to Never Getting Sick
Kick the cold
Ever wonder why you always seem to come down with a life-interrupting virus this time of year, while other women you know sail through the season sniffle-, cough-, and ache-free?
We canvassed the research and talked to top experts to uncover these key, study-backed secrets for staying well, even when you're surrounded by germs. The docs' number one tip: Get the flu vaccine, ASAP. Then, follow these simple steps to boost your virus protection even more.
Make friends with fresh air
Not only does escaping into the fresh air give you a break from all those germs circulating inside, but going for a stroll can actually boost your immunity. "Exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, neutrophils, and monocytes, which ultimately increases immune function," says Ather Ali, ND, MPH, assistant director of Complementary/Alternative Medicine Research at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.
Relaxation fights off colds
These impede your body's ability to produce cell-signaling molecules called cytokines, which trigger a disease-fighting response from your immune system. "You're also less likely to take care of yourselfget ample sleep, eat right, exercisewhen you're stressed," says Ali, which is crucial to upping your immunity.
Clean hands are everything
Germs can grow on bar soaps, so use the pumped kindor better yet, a hands-free dispenser and choose regular soap over antibacterial. Lather for a solid 20 seconds before rinsing, and make sure to dry thoroughly (but not on your germy clothes!): "Damp hands are far more likely to spread bacteria than dry ones," says Dana Simpler, MD, a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
The magic bullet
"For many of us, the only quiet time we have to think through things is when we're lying down at bedtime. Unfortunately, problem-solving in bed interferes with sleep," says Leslie Swanson, PhD, a sleep specialist at the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.