Staying Healthy for the School Year
Back to school often means the return of persistent colds and flu. Small children share their germs on the playground. Stressed out students packed into university lecture halls. The odds of catching a cold increase with increased exposure. Here are some tips to keep you healthy throughout the school year.
Top 5 tips to stay healthy
2. Wash Your Hands: Time after time researchers find that proper hand-washing is the best way to prevent a cold. You don't need to be using anti-bacterial soap or hand sanitizers, ordinary soap does just as good a job .
3. Get Plenty of Rest: Poor quality or insufficient sleep lowers your body's ability to fight off illness. A 2009 study found that adults who got less than 7 hours of sleep were 3 times more likely to get sick after being exposed to a cold virus than adults who got 8 or more hours .
4. Stay Active: Moderate exercise boosts your body's production of antibodies by as much as 300%. Light exercise can also help you fight a cold after you've contracted it. Be careful though - strenuous exercise can actually decrease immune function if you push yourself too hard .
5. Eat Healthy: A balanced diet including lots of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts will keep your immune system functioning at its peak. Foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, Beta-carotene, zinc and omega-3 will all boost immunity . Other immune system helpers include mushrooms, garlic, ginger, probiotics, vitamin D and tea.
What about the flu shot?
The flu shot is designed to work against a few strains of the flu virus that researchers have predicted may become more virulent the following year. The flu shot is estimated to be 70-90% effective against those strains, but they offer no protection to the hundreds of other strains of the flu virus. Like all vaccines, the flu shot has the potential for adverse side-effects, and also contains many compounds we might choose not to put in our bodies .
Given that those who get the flu shot can still easily get the flu. Your best chance of staying healthy is to support your immune system through a healthy diet and lifestyle instead.