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(My breakfast - designed to help me avoid getting sick - a smoothie with veggie based protein powder, mixed greens, almond milk, and frozen berries)
My lovely husband is sick today - sneezing, sniffling, dripping everywhere. I’m working really hard to avoid getting sick from him. Also, cold and flu season is just around the corner. I’m a teacher and I’m around sick kids a lot. I really try hard to stay healthy through diet and lifestyle but sometimes you have to go a bit further, especially when parents send their kids to school sick or someone is sick around you. Here are the top five things I’ve found that help!
1. Avoid sick people. Yup. Avoid them. This one sounds harsh but it’s totally the number one thing you can do to keep yourself from getting sick. Try to stay away from the air they are breathing, the things they are touching. Don’t sleep next to them. I always kick my husband onto the couch when I’m sick and when he’s sick I go for an air mattress. When a student is sick I try to help them from a distance, without putting my face to near to their hands or face. This is still totally effective teaching and helps keep me from having to get a sub a few days later…which is generally not effective teaching.
2. Don’t touch your face, nose, or mouth! This advice was given to me by a doctor when I was really sick during student teaching. There’s only a few ways for germs to enter your body and your hand connecting with one of them is a sure fire way to get sick. If my eyes itch I’ll scratch them while holding a tissue or use part of my sleeve in a pinch. I wash my hands before food prep and try to use utensils instead of my fingers to eat. When I put my moisturizer on my face I make sure that my hands are clean both to avoid bacteria in my pores and also to avoid germs that could make me sick!
3. Wash your hands! This was alluded to in the previous point, but washing your hands and washing them frequently is such an important thing! Hopefully I’m preaching to the choir with this one but it’s important to get rid of those germs. You can really make handwashing as fun or as boring as you want to. At work it’s whatever soap they provide but at home I go for the Method soaps in the fun containers and of course minty smelling soap! I generally do liquid over bar soap because it makes my sink less messy! Wash all the time, especially before food prep and eating and…do I even need to say it…after you use the restroom!
4. Rest and hydrate! If you find yourself feeling like you’re coming down with something…rest! I try to get as much off my schedule, I stop training cold turkey for a day or two, and I just hydrate and rest. I try to nap, and give my body the space to use the energy I’d generally be putting in at the gym to repair the damage before it gets too intense.
5. Eat Right. I hope that this is one thing that you already do! Eating lots of great living foods, healthy grains, lower amounts of sugars…I believe that would be called eating clean…is the best thing you can do! Having good food will give you a good immune system and having enough vitamins and minerals help with that, too. I personally take a high quality multivitamin purchased through my natropath with a healthy dose of Vitamin C to help with absorption. I also strive for 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day and try to stay away from refined sugars. Eating healthy is a little less easy to do when you are on your way to getting sick because your energy is drained but it’s the number one thing you can do to help keep yourself healthy. When I’m getting sick I get Zicam (I’ve found it’s the best of the cold remedies out there for my physiology) and take a few zinc supplements on top of it. I completely cut all sugars (including fruit sugars) out of my diet because I know bacteria loves sugar and uses sugars to multiply, and really, really go crazy with the veggies and hot soups. I make a huge kettle of Veggie Soup and just eat that for a few days as needed and the heat and liquid helps you stay hydrated and clear out those sinuses. I put Cayenne pepper in it, tons of garlic, organic veggie broth, rosemary, and any veggie that looks appealing into it. I snack on carrots and bell peppers and Kale chips.