Boost Your Immune System

By , Alyssa Shaffer, Woman's Day
No More Sick Days

Don't let colds and flu spoil your season. Stop sniffles before they start by strengthening your immunity. Click through to discover the newest germ-fighting tips straight from the experts.

The doctor says... Take a deep breath

People who have high stress levels are more likely to get sick because stress hormones can weaken the immune system. But new research shows that meditation or exercise (or both!) can counter stress and strengthen immunity, lowering your odds of catching a cold or the flu. A recently published eight-week study found that people who practiced meditation for 45 minutes a day had a 33% to 60% reduction in respiratory infections, and another group who exercised 45 minutes a day had similar success in staying healthy. If you can't find that much time, aim for a 30-minute walk five days a week, and try to set aside at least 5 to 10 minutes daily to do something calming—even if it's just closing your eyes and slowly breathing in and out for a slow count to five. 

The germ expert says... Skip the hand sanitizers

Most viruses are spread through hand-to-hand contact, or touching germy items, and the golden rule is to physically remove germs by sudsing up with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds. This breaks up and washes away the oils on your skin that carry bacteria and viruses. Hand sanitizer doesn't remove germs as effectively as soap and water and also doesn't kill many of the illness-causing viruses, so use it only in a pinch. Because you can also catch a cold from touching germ havens in your home (doorknobs, remote controls), wipe them down with a cleaning spray once or twice a week—every day if someone in your house is sick. Be sure to use a product labeled disinfectant, which means it kills almost all germs on contact. Another tip: Thirty percent of kitchen sponges tested positive for the flu virus, so disinfect yours daily.

Click here for more tips to boost your immune system from Woman’s Day.

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