Tag Archives: germs

16 Habits of Extremely Healthy People

healthy-life-sign-250x165As we head into cold and flu season, I wonder how some people always seem to stay so healthy. I blame my kids for spreading germs, but I’d like to think there are things we can do to stay healthier during the fall and winter months.

Real health is about more than just the physical aspects of wellness. It encompasses much more. You need to include your mental, emotional and spiritual health in your plans for a healthy lifestyle.

While there’s no magic plan or potion that will guarantee your health, you can take steps to increase your overall health. In the process, you may also boost your immune system to ward off those pesky cold and flu germs.

Here are 16 habits that healthy people incorporate into their daily lives:

Look on the bright side
Healthy people are optimistic. They don’t waste time and energy complaining. If they need to make a change in there lives, they do it. A positive mental attitude goes along way to promoting and supporting other healthy behaviors.

Commit to a healthy life
Healthy people aren’t born that way. They have made a choice to live a healthy lifestyle. They take it one day at a time just like the rest of us. Do healthy people slip up and revert to bad habits occasionally? Absolutely. However, they know not to let one setback hold them back and continue to actively work toward living a healthy life.

Eat for nourishment
Eating right isn’t just about what you eat. It’s also about how much you eat. Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough. Healthy people pay attention to their bodies and listen when it tells them they are full. You can stop eating when your hunger is satisfied, and before that bloated, full feeling sets in.

Believe in moderation
Healthy people don’t deprive themselves of the foods they love. They eat healthy the majority of the time, but enjoy their favorite unhealthy foods once in a while without feeling guilty. Eat a couple pieces of pizza or have a cookie. Just remember to stay on your healthy course the rest of the time!

Enjoy exercise
I am not here yet. Healthy people actually enjoy exercising. How do they do it? They spend time doing exercises they actually like doing and avoid those they hate. If you hate to run, don’t run. If you don’t like going to a gym, don’t go. Find things you like to do: taking walks outdoors, swimming laps, riding your bike or doing yoga.

Balance work and play
With technology taking over our lives, many people never really clock out from their jobs. You may check emails from your phone or send work texts at dinner. Healthy people know that work is important, but they also know that our health suffers when we don’t take time for us. Make sure you maintain a good balance between work and play.

Drink water
Everyone knows they should drink more water, but healthy people actually do it. Drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water a day can help you in so many ways. You can control your appetite, avoid dehydration and be more mentally attuned. Keep a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go.

Eat healthy snacks
Snacking can make or break your health goals. Healthy people choose snacks like vegetables, fruits, almonds and other nuts. Replace processed snack foods with raw types of snacks, and you’ll develop an important healthy habit.

Reduce stress
Some stress is a good thing. It keeps us on task and prepares us to handle important challenges. But, chronic stress can be bad for your overall health. It can even weaken your immune system. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy. Say no to stress!

Get enough sleep
Without enough sleep, your immune system doesn’t have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Keep a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine at bedtime, relax and make your bedroom an oasis.

Just say no
Healthy people are attuned to their own needs. You can say no to friends and loved ones. It means that you are respecting yourself. When you’ve reached your limit, listen to your mind and body, and say no. Your friends and family will understand.

Kick bad habits
If you smoke or drink alcohol, it can weaken your immune system. Smoking is also likely to give you additional health problems. While a glass of wine or a couple of beers is okay, overdoing it can cause you to get sick more often.

Get a pet
Dogs and other pets aren’t just good to have as companions. They can help you get exercise and improve your health. Pets have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, contributing to a healthier heart. Dogs can also be good for your immune system and help you relieve stress.

Have a laugh
Laughing can be good for you. Research as shown that laughter may help boost your immune system. Laughing and smiling also help relieve stress and put you in a good mood.

Live in the moment
Take time to enjoy life’s little pleasures. Be thankful for everything that is good in your life. The ability to appreciate the things you have, regardless of what else might be going on, helps you maintain a peaceful mindset rather than focus on what you don’t have.

Be kind
Healthy people treat others how they want to be treated. Creating a habit of kindness and respect will make you feel good about yourself and build strong relationships with your friends and family. Small acts of goodness can change your life – and can impact someone else’s life, too. Be compassionate, and you’ll give off a healthy glow!

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19 Germiest Places to Watch Out For

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Hand washing is the best defense against germs

I am a bit of a germaphobe. I try to keep from getting too carried away, but I could easily become obsessed with germs. I am able to function in society – I can shake hands and touch door handles, but it does cross my mind that I am probably coming into contact with all sorts of germs.

While wintertime is typically considered the cold and flu season, germs are lurking around us all year long.

You may expect to be in contact with germs when you’re out in public, but you might be surprised to learn that your home can be harboring germs in surprising places.

The germiest places in public:

Public Rest Rooms
Toilet seats are not as germy as you might think. You are more likely to get germs in a public bathroom when you touch door handles, faucets and from flushing water. The germs actually become airborne and more contagious when the toilet is flushed.

Schools and Day Cares
When many kids are together in one place, the germs will spread. Kids also touch everything they come into contact with throughout the day, making it easy to transfer germs from one person to another.

ATMs and Gas Pumps
A study found that 41% of ATM keypads and 71% of gas pump handles were highly contaminated with germs. If you keep gloves in your car, you may want to use them when touching these machines.

Public Transportation
The more closely people are packed together, the more likely they will spread germs. You can’t get much closer than you do on subways, trains, buses and airplanes. Even in taxis, multiple people are touching inside surfaces all day long.

Door Handles
Door handles in high traffic areas can also be a breeding ground for germs. They provide enough surface area for germs to stick around and are touched by many people so that they can house all sorts of pathogens.

Shopping Carts
We all know that shopping carts are covered in germs and other pathogens. You may be surprised to learn that 72% of shopping carts also have coliform bacteria, which suggests that fecal material may be present. Children sitting in the front of the cart may be one of the reasons for the high germ count.

Doctor’s Office
I once asked my kids’ physician if she used different rooms for wellness visits versus sick visits. The answer was, “No.” So, when I brought in my dehydrated son – who had thrown up on the way to the doctor’s office – you could have been in the room right after us. I asked if they ever disinfect the rooms, and I didn’t really get an answer. Even the doctor’s stethoscope may be carrying germs. Research shows you may also want to avoid the magazines in the waiting room as well. They can house germs for over three days.

The germiest places at home:

Kitchen Sink
Your toilet bowl may actually be cleaner than your kitchen sink. We rinse our sinks with water and assume the are clean. However, food particles from rinsed dishes or dishes that sit in the sink can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli. You can also get these germs on your hands and spread them to food. You should sanitize your sink with bleach and water once a day.

Cell Phone
Your cell phone may contain more than ten times the amount of bacteria as the average toilet seat. You handle your phone all day long. You may also set it down in all sorts of places. Hardly anyone cleans their cell phone which makes it that much more germy.

Toothbrush
If you rinse it off and put it away wet, bacteria is most likely growing on your toothbrush. As we mentioned earlier, flushing a toilet can spread a spray of bacteria through the air. Store your toothbrush where it can dry out between uses, but not too close to the toilet. You should also replace your toothbrush more often than what you probably do.

Salt and Pepper Shaker
Researchers studied adults who were beginning to show the signs of a cold. They tested common household items and found that  every one of the salt and pepper shakers they tested in people’s homes contained cold viruses.

Pillow Case and Sheets
Your pillow case is home to dust mites, bacteria and mold. If you go to bed with wet hair or sweat at night, it makes it worse. The longer you go without washing your pillowcase and the older your pillow, the worse it can be. You should wash your pillow case and sheets at least every week.

Computer Keyboard and Mouse
Your keyboard and mouse can harbor germs, especially if multiple people come into contact with it on a regular basis. The best way to clean it is to wipe it using a cloth that is slightly damp with sterile water. You can also shake out the keyboard to get rid of debris between the keys, or use compressed air.

Bottom of Shoes
Your shoes may contact as many as 66 million organisms on the bottom of them. These organisms and bacteria can lead to infections. To minimize these pathogens, always take off your shoes at the door.

TV Remotes
Everyone in the house is touching it. It gets sneezed on, coughed on, dropped on the floor and shoved in the couch cushions. Researchers found that half of the remotes they tested showed positive results for cold viruses.

Bathtub
Even though you clean yourself in the tub, your tub may not be all that clean. In a study, 26% of the bathtubs tested had staphylococcus bacteria. You should clean and disinfect your bathtub with bleach or bathroom cleaner after bathing and dry it with a towel.

Water Bottle
I often carry a reusable plastic bottle with me and refill it throughout the day. Coliform bacteria (responsible for E. coli) can grow on the inside of these plastic bottles if they aren’t cleaned carefully. Go with a wide-mouthed bottle that is easier to clean and dry. In addition to regular washing, soak the bottle with a bleach solution for two minutes once a week.

Towels
Reusing a damp bath towel to dry off can actually be getting you dirty again. When you dry off, you take off dead skin cells and bacteria along with the water. You can minimize the germ risks if you change out the towels at least once a week and allow them to dry completely between uses.

Makeup and Brushes
Cosmetics can also house germs and bacteria. A study found that within three months of using a tube of mascara, 40% of them have pathogens growing in them. It’s a good idea to replace eye makeup every season (or three months) and throw out lotions and foundations every six months.

The best defense against germs is still washing your hands regularly. Your hands transfer bacteria and viruses  to your eyes, nose and mouth. Your hands also transfer germs to other surfaces and people.

After writing this list of the germiest places, I may have to start wearing gloves and carrying hand wipes!

10 ways to avoid getting sick

Stay healthy and avoid getting sickA cold in the summer? The flu in the fall? When I was young, it seemed like we only got sick in the winter.

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?