6 tips for avoiding illness in the New Year

The holiday season may have already passed, but the illnesses that come with it may compromise the body’s overall health all-year round. The start of 2018 signals another whole year of fending off diseases to keep the family safe and healthy. Here are a few tips in keeping ailments at bay:

  1. Wash hands regularly — Routine hand washing remains to be the top advice for preventing diseases this year, as the practice is a surefire way of eliminating unwanted germs from the body.
  2. Minimize body contact when possible — It is difficult to distinguish whether the person next to you has an infection. One full-proof way to prevent catching illnesses is to minimize body contact when possible. Blowing an air kiss instead of shaking hands with people who might be infected may lower the odds of transmitting the disease.
  3. Practice proper food handling — Food handling plays a big part in disease transmission. It is important to always wash hands after handling raw vegetables to mitigate the risk of E.coli exposure. Wrapping leftovers while they are still warm may also lessen the risk of illnesses. According to experts, cooling the leftovers before wrapping may encourage the growth of bacteria. “It creates condensation — providing a watery culture which allows microorganisms on the food to grow. If the food is very hot, it is unlikely to have any bacteria on it. That’s a better time to cover it,” microbiology and immunology expert Dr. Paul Matewele told Daily Mail online.
  4. Mind the utensils, crockery — Virology expert John Oxford stressed that ill family members, especially those infected with flu or winter vomiting bug, should be given separate utensils and crockery to prevent the viruses from spreading further.

Stress management, adequate sleep are also key to a healthier 2018

Aside from the external factors, it is also important to take note of internal cues to fortify the body’s defenses against diseases. The following tips may help strengthen the body’s immunity against infections. (Related: Expert tips for beating colds and flu include natural remedies that are safer AND more effective than any vaccine.)

  1. Manage stress effectively — Renowned author Danny Penman discussed that the body has evolved in such a way that it suppresses immunity during stressful events, thus making it more susceptible to diseases. “Stress really hammers the immune system. Under acute stress, the body diverts all its resources to escaping. The body doesn’t waste time when we’re being hunted with maintenance. The problem is, under long-term stress, the body has the same reaction, so it can’t repair itself the way it’s supposed to,” Penman explained in a Rodale Wellness article. However, the author stressed that managing stress through meditation was found to boost the activity of the immune system’s disease-fighting “killer cells.”
  2. Get enough sleep — Sleep medicine specialist Dr. W. Christopher Winter stressed that people who slept less than seven hours a night had a threefold increased risk of suffering from infections than those who slept for eight hours or more. “There are clear links between sleep and the immune system. During the cold and flu season, make sure you’re not only getting enough sleep, but that you’re really sticking to your schedule. [Shift workers are] not getting enough sleep, or have unusual sleep patterns. Their rates of illness and missed days of work are through the roof. Keep in mind, bedtime isn’t necessarily when you feel your eyes sagging. Just because you can stay up and feel fine the next day doesn’t mean you should,” Dr. Winter said.

Make this year a healthy one by visiting Outbreak.news for more disease-fighting tips.

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