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How To Avoid Getting Sick

Jun 3, 2019

Taking a sick day from work, or missing a productive day of school and online coursework is no fun. It’s already not fun to feel sick, but missing opportunities for work or school because you’re sick is even worse!

There are many ways to prevent getting sick, but there are also some myths about preventing sickness that don’t actually work. If you already are sick, there are a few things you can do to help get over your sickness quickly and back to health!

These tips can also help busy parents who need to prevent their kids from getting sick, or can help them if they’re already dealing with a sick little one.


How to prevent getting sick.

Wash your hands.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but washing your hands is really important to prevent sickness. Wash your hands before, during, and after you make food and before you eat. If you’re caring for someone who is sick, make sure you wash your hands often when you’re with them.

You also need to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, or after changing a baby’s diaper. It’s also important to wash your hands after you blow your nose or cough to prevent diseases from spreading.

There actually is a right way to wash your hands to kill germs. You should use clean water (it can be warm or cold) and soap. Lather your hands back and front, and under your nails. You should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABC Song.”) Rinse your hands well and dry them with a clean towel.

Hand sanitizer can also be effective in helping you keep bacteria and germs at bay.

Washing your hands may seem like a simple activity, but it can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe from sickness.


Get vaccinated.

Vaccines are currently a controversial topic, but the Center for Disease Control stresses the importance of immunizations to prevent disease. Vaccines are required for most children to enter school, and for travel outside the U.S.

Many extremely harmful and deadly diseases are currently eradicated or extremely rare because of immunizations. It may seem like there is no longer a need to vaccinate against some diseases because they are so rare, but the truth is that continually vaccinating people is the reason these diseases have faded away.

The CDC and FDA work to ensure the overall health of the population by recommending vaccinations and the safest schedule to introduce them to children and adults.

A flu shot is another way you can prevent sickness. While it won't cure the common cold, it's a great boost to your immune system and can help you come flu season, when lots of different colds and viruses are floating around.

Vaccines are the absolute best way that parents can protect their children from 16 harmful, and some deadly, diseases. Many parents haven’t ever seen first-hand the devastating impact of these diseases, and hopefully will never have to thanks to vaccines.

If you have questions about the controversy surrounding vaccines, it’s wise to talk to your child’s pediatrician or learn more from the CDC website.


Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle includes diet and exercise, getting enough sleep, and drinking enough water. When your body has a healthy routine, you are more likely to fight off sickness.

A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy. It can take an adjustment to move to healthy eating, so start small. Focus on one meal or snack to introduce yourself to healthier options.

You should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. There are many ways you can move your body to get your heart rate up, and get healthier. Find a way to introduce exercise into your routine that makes you excited about moving your body, from jumping rope to playing at the park with your kids, jogging to weight lifting.

You should aim for 8 hours of sleep each and every night, and drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. These two elements are critical healthy habits that will help you have energy and avoid getting sick.

When you lack proper nutrition and don’t have enough sleep, your body is more susceptible to the germs around you, and can pick up illnesses. The healthier your lifestyle, the more likely you are to stave off sickness.


What doesn't work.

There are many common myths about how you can fight the common cold and other illnesses, but many of them just simply aren’t true!

Loading up on Vitamin C.

Research shows that loading up on Vitamin C won’t prevent or get rid of the common cold. While Vitamin C is a healthy vitamin and should be part of your diet, loading up on extra through Vitamin C drinks or pills won’t impact your health. Your body won’t even absorb any extra beyond what it needs, and it will move through you.

Many companies try to take advantage of this myth and sell drinks and pills marketed to help you cure colds with added Vitamin C. While it won’t hurt you to have extra Vitamin C and it’s good to get the whole amount your body needs, extra Vitamin C won’t help you, and Vitamin C itself won’t cure your sickness.

Vitamin C can make you feel better and can seem to help any symptoms you have, but it won't get rid of the flu or strengthen your immune system any more by taking more.


Taking antibiotics for a virus.

Antibiotics treat bacterial illnesses, and most colds and flus are viral infections. Antibiotics won’t help you treat the source of the common cold or sickness, and taking antibiotics unnecessarily can be harmful to your body.

Antibiotics can help soothe some of your symptoms, such as body aches or sinus infections, but getting rid of symptoms won't mean that your common cold is gone.

Having the common cold usually doesn’t even require a visit to the doctor unless you have a high fever. Doctors can do very little to treat viral illnesses, and you’re often better-off to stay at home and rest.


Many OTC medicines.

Many over-the-counter medications swear they will help you fight your cold. The reality is that these cold medicines will help you manage your cold symptoms, but they won’t get rid of the virus that causes your sickness.

You can take cough suppressants, sore throat soothers, fever reducers, or something to drain your stuffy nose; all symptoms of a cold but at the end of the day the infection virus you are carrying is in control, and only time will tell how long you remain sick.

There are many effective medicines that will help you feel better and fight off the cold symptoms, but unfortunately you should only take these medicines for a certain period of time, and they won’t actually cure the cold.


What to do if you're already sick.

If you or your kids have succumbed to flu season or the common cold, there are just a few things you can do that will really help you get better, and prevent spreading it to more people.

Cough into your clothes.

It’s very important to cough and sneeze into clothing, or the crook of your elbow. This will help the germs you have stay contained, instead of sending them airborne. You can keep your hands clean by not coughing and sneezing directly into them, and help others avoid your sickness when you are considerate about coughing and sneezing.


Stay home.

When you’re feeling sick, the best thing you can do is stay home. Avoid going into work or school (if you’re attending school online at WGU, you can stay home AND do your school work! Another huge pro for attending an online university) and don’t send your kids to school if they’re sick. By staying home you’ll allow your body to rest, which will help it be better prepared to fight your virus. You also avoid spreading illness to other people, and avoid catching anything additional.

Stay hydrated.

Drinking lots of water will help your body flush out the toxins that are making you feel sick. Good hydration is vital to helping you have energy and giving your body the strength it needs to fight your cold. Try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. When you are sick, you can also try drinking a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes, or juice to make sure you’re getting all the needed vitamins and minerals for your diet.


Get more sleep.

Rest is a crucial element of recovery when you’re sick. Your body needs the chance to re-energize and fight off your sickness. When you sleep, your body has a chance to focus completely on fighting off your virus. Sleeping can be difficult when you’re not feeling well, but choosing the right cold medicine and a great, restful location can help you get the extra ZZZ’s you need to fight off your illness.

Getting sick is an inevitable part of life, but with the right understanding you can help fight off illnesses, and prevent them in the future.


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