Now, we have to fight off sickness all year long. My daughter had a head cold last week. My husband, my son and I were all slowed down by upset stomachs this weekend. Why are we getting sick in the summer?
The reality is germs are around all the time. Viruses, such as those that cause colds and the flu, live longer on surfaces in the winter (about 5-7 days). In the summer or during warm weather, germs die off much faster (in about 24 hours).
These days we spend our time shut up in the house, in an office, or commuting to work. If you touch things that others are touching and then rub your face or touch your mouth, you are exposing yourself to germs.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle can go a long way toward keeping you healthy. Here are 10 things you can do to avoid getting sick this summer and fall:
Wash your hands
The most effective way to combat germs is wash your hands often. Every time you touch a door knob, stair railing, phone or pen, you may be coming into contact with a virus. By washing your hands frequently, you can help minimize your chances of getting sick.
Keep your cool
When it’s warm outside, you can overdo it and become sick. However, most heat-related illnesses don’t happen from overexerting yourself on a hot, muggy day. Heat stroke occurs when your body simply can’t regulate your temperature. A chronic illness can put you at an even greater risk for health problems in hot weather. So, keep cool and protect yourself during hot weather.
Focus on the positive
Having a positive attitude can improve your immunity. People who are described as happy, enthusiastic and calm tend to be less likely to catch colds. A positive outlook may help you become more resistant to germs.
Protect your food
Summer and fall typically mean more picnics, backyard gatherings or dining out on your patio. Warmer temperatures and the lack of access to clean water when eating outdoors can increase the chances of contracting food poisoning.
Be sure to clean produce thoroughly before peeling or cooking. Keep your sodas or drinks in a separate cooler from your cold dishes since the drink cooler will be opened more often. You will be able to store your perishable foods at a more constant temperature. Make sure cold foods stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and check grilled foods with a meat thermometer to make sure they have been properly heated to kill bacteria.
Say no to stress
Constant worrying causes your cortisol levels to rise and stress hormones can weaken your body’s overall immunity. So, worrying about getting sick – along with chronic stress – can actually increase your chances of getting sick. Take time to relax.
Work your body
Exercise can calm the mind and relieve stress. In addition, getting your heart rate up, strengthening and toning can all help boost your immune system. So, getting in the routine of exercising can help you stay healthier and stave off sickness.
Eat for health
What you eat can also help you maintain good health and ward off germs. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains and lean meats.
Go to sleep
Sleep is one of the best ways to keep healthy. You need a good, solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If you can get into bed and fall asleep right away, stay asleep through the night and wake up refreshed, then you are more likely to be protected from colds and viruses. A good night’s sleep also raises your melatonin and improves immunity.
Hang out with friends
While you may think that spending time with others would increase your chances of getting sick, it actually helps you stay more healthy. There is evidence that being an extrovert can help protect you from developing colds and illnesses. Your friends may even help you live longer!
Watch out for bugs
Ticks, mosquitoes, spiders and many other summer insects can make you sick. Use insect repellent every time you’re outside to prevent bug bites. West Nile virus and Lyme disease are very real health concerns. Watch out for bug bites and treat them with anti-itch cream and antibiotic ointment to avoid itching and getting an infection.
Keeping the main aspects of your life in balance, including eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress, can help keep you healthy. What are your tips for staying healthy and avoiding colds and illnesses all year round?