Don’t Get Sick!
As is traditional about this time of year, everyfreakingbody I know is getting sick. If that's you, then this guide for winning the war with viruses can help — but if it's not, and you'd like to keep it that way, then here are my tips and tricks. These have kept me from getting 99% of everything floating around for quite a few years now, so if you're not doing these things, save yourself some misery and start!
- Stay active. Obviously this is good for many reasons, but specifically when there are germs in your vicinity, keeping moving helps stop them from collecting and multiplying in your system. Things as simple as jogging in place or getting some pushups and situps in can make a big difference in your body's hospitality to germs on any given day!
- Stay warm. And not just when you're outside, or on your outside: Keep your core temperature up, with lots of warm fluids, hot food, hot showers, and sweat-inducing exercise. And don't neglect lots of clothes, including extra socks and gloves — if you feel cold, you probably are cold; don't ignore it! Your immune system works a ton better when you're warm enough. If you can't seem to get warm (as happens to me sometimes when it's really cold), grab a bit of strong drink (just a bit — getting drunk won't help), spicy food, hot-tub or sauna time if you can, or a short nap under a zillion blankets to recharge.
- Stay wet. Most winter illnesses get in through your mucous membranes, which are mucousy specifically to help prevent such transfers. But it's dry in the winter, in most places, and dryness means less mucous. (If you live somewhere where the winters are wet, your main danger is stagnation of that moisture, so focus on heat and moving around.) So drink a lot of water and hot fluids, and don't ignore the water you usually inhale directly into your nose, sinuses, mouth and lungs! Invest in a humidifier for the spaces you sleep or spend a lot of time in — it's totally worth it.
- Stay fed. Winter is a bad time to diet, generally speaking…you need nutrients to burn, including trace minerals and vitamins. Most diets involve restricting your burnable fuel to get your body to burn fat; but fat can't fuel your immune system. If you're trying to lose weight, focus on eating lots of vegetable-matter and healthy things, but don't starve yourself when there are diseases around — you'll just wind up handicapping the system that keeps you from getting sick.
- Stay in the world. Being clean is always a good idea, but don't resort to germophobia: Some of those germs are good ones, and keeping "all" germs out doesn't work any more than keeping "all" insects out of your house — you need spiders to kill mosquitoes, and the natural world is often arranged such that you can't keep out all the mosquitoes on your own (i.e. mosquitoes being a lot smaller and sneakier than the spiders that eat them). Soap and water are great, but don't douse your body and world in bleach or alcohol — it's not doing you any good, especially since most of the sick-making germs you'll encounter will get into your body regardless, through the air, your mouth, etc. Unless you have an immune system disorder, you're not actually helping yourself by keeping all the germs out of your environment anyway — the immune system needs a certain amount of exposure in order to know how to fight things off, and small exposures aren't going to get your sick (on the contrary, they're going to keep you from getting sick — hence, how vaccinations work!).
Best of luck to you all! I've got two friends and a roommate down for the count right now, but thankfully I still feel fine…time for some spicy soup and a quick workout to keep it that way!