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Tips for Staying Healthy Year-Round

Monday, April 19, 2010

No matter where you live, “change-of-season” colds can arise. During seasonal transitions, you prepare your house and making sure your car has the proper fluids. To ward off seasonal sniffles, think back to what your mom told you - eat right, go to bed early and to stop touching everything.

Her advice has apparently withstood the test of time. Dr. Carl Wurster, chair of the Allied Health Department at Brown Mackie College – Boise, provides us with 10 tips on ways you can stay healthy throughout the year.

 1. Exercise more. You’ll help ward off sickness if you’re in good shape. The body does not go from marginal to excellent health in a short time span. Regular exercise increases blood circulation and you also tend to drink more water when you exercise, which increases adrenalin secretion. Speak with a physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.

2. Eat more protein and good fats. “If you’re not in good shape, adjusting your diet is the best thing you can do,” says Dr. Wurster. “Proteins contain immune globulins, which the body uses to fight viral and bacterial infections. Proteins also contain chemicals that make up antibodies. Almonds and yogurt are good fats that help maintain body temperature.” Speak with a physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.

3. Get enough sleep. Increased sleep causes a big change in cortisone secretion from your adrenal gland - which has a positive effect on the immune response. Adequate sleep lowers your chances of picking up a bug.

4. Take your vitamins. By taking vitamin C and other supplements you lower your chances of picking up an upper respiratory infection. The average person has 2.3 colds a year, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.  

5. Wash your hands. Beware of fomites. “Viral bugs thrive on fomites, which are communal objects, that we all touch - like door handles or phones,” says Dr. Wurster. After thoroughly washing your hands, use the paper towel to open the restroom door. 

6. Take more showers and fewer baths. The steam from a shower helps loosen the mucous membranes. “That’s why steam rooms are good for you,” he adds.

7. Don’t invite sick people to your house. Sick friends and relatives should stay home. The same goes for the workplace. Airplanes are the main vectors for the spread of disease caused by re-circulated air. Try to keep your hands away from your nose and mouth until you de-plane and then wash your hands. Or, better still; always keep a small bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer with you.

8. Don’t overuse antihistamines and decongestants. This dries up the mucous membranes, making them a haven for infections.

When was the last time Dr. Wurster had the sniffles? It’s been several years. He’s taking his mother’s advice.

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