INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Are you avoiding your co-workers who have that thunderous cough? Or maybe it's a fellow shopper at the grocery store that you're trying to avoid because of the Kleenex they have glued to their face? Do you avoid shaking people's hands this time of year or using a public phone?
All of these aversion tactics are normal and in most cases, intelligently executed this time of year. But fret not, I have some tips for you to follow to build and maintain a healthy and strong immune system.
1. Wash your hands consistently and not just before you sit down for lunch. Germs are spread easiest through touch. Washing your hands can literally wash germs down the drain. There isn't a sink nearby; hand sanitizer is just as effective. I keep a bottle in my car as well as at my desk. If you work in an office, wipe down your keyboard, phones and desk to keep your work area germ free as well.
2. Keep your hands away from your face. Touching your eyes and nose are the most common places for germs to enter the body.
3. Get plenty of sleep. It is recommended for adults to have 7-8 hours. Teens and adolescents should have 9 hours daily and growing kids need between 10-12 hours.
4. Exercise regularly. Get those sweats and sneakers out of your closet and exercise! Every time you walk or run, you're boosting your body's immunity, the natural defense against viruses. A daily 30-minute walk, or three 10-minute walks, is the minimum you need. Doing more provides greater health benefits.
5. Eat your vegetables and maintain a healthy diet. A well-nourished immune system is better able to fight off infections. It must be fueled with natural vitamins and antioxidants found in healthy foods. Eat dark-green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits. They're packed with numerous antioxidants, plus vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene. You may think it's hard to eat healthy on a regular basis, but eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables supports your immune system and it's a lot easier than fighting off the flu!
6. Doctors recommend getting your annual flu shot; especially for the elderly and young children. For most adults, I am not sure how effective this shot can be, as there are so many different types of strands of the flu virus to ward off. I highly recommend receiving a B-12 shot. I have been receiving one weekly since for the past few months and have noticed a difference in my overall level of energy and I'm able to get a restful night's sleep, I have mental clarity at work and my productive level is strong. But don't take my word for it, try one yourself. Natura Med Natural Family Medicine in Kings beach offers happy hour B-12 shots the second Tuesday and third Thursday of every month for $20.00.
7. Keep your stress levels low. Some stress is good, but you must know when to relax. Too much stress impairs the immune system.
8. Maintain distance from someone with flu like symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. This may sound obvious but don't forget about your sick family and friends.
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees to avoid getting sick, but following these tips will lead you to a healthy lifestyle and strong immune system.
- Erica Korpi is Director of Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. She can be reached at Erica.Korpi@hyatt.com.