With the advent of cold and flu season each year, we are bombarded with ads for cold medicine, cough drops, and painkillers. While these medications offer some relief, they don’t provide a cure. It’s better not to get sick in the first place. Cold, flu, and other common infections can occur year-round, and the best way to stop them is to integrate six healthy habits into daily life.
Wash Hands Often
The most important disease-fighting habit is hand-washing. Use soap and water if possible, and wash your hands frequently during the day. Times to wash are: before and after food preparation and eating, after using the bathroom, handling pets, changing a baby’s diaper, coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, or being in contact with a sick person. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Another key habit is to avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Bacteria and viruses thrive in the warm, moist environments of your mucous membranes, and hand contact is the most common way to introduce them into your body.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Practicing good oral hygiene is a third important habit. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily helps remove dangerous bacteria from your mouth and keeps gums and teeth healthy. Damaged or receding gums can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can in turn lead to infections, abscesses, the loss of teeth, and even heart disease.
Take Vitamins And Supplements
It’s important to take vitamin supplements to keep illness away, even if you get most of your vitamins from the food you eat. Vitamin C is especially useful in preventing common illnesses and helping you get better. Supplements that help for colds that you can take include herbal teas. Some teas, like lemon or peppermint, can help fight inflammation and viruses your body may be fighting.
Eat Healthy And Stay Hydrated
Eating right and drinking enough water is a disease-fighting habit that makes sense for overall well-being. Proper hydration keeps mucous membranes moist and skin supple. Dry air passages and cracked skin invite bacteria and make it harder for the body to fight back. Likewise, a proper diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, low-fat dairy, and whole grains keeps the body’s natural defenses in good working order.
Finally, it is critical to get enough sleep. For most people, that is between 7 and 8 hours a night. Sleep is essential for restoring the body and brain and regulating metabolism. You may need to sleep more if you aren’t feeling as well to allow your body to fight illness more effectively.
Cultivate these simple but essential habits and you may very well give your next cold a pass. Informational credit to Artistic Dentistry by Gerard Wasselle, DMD.