Data from a flu prevention website run by the United States government warns that between 5 and 20 percent of the population get the flu every year. Also, the American Lung Association found that the common cold accounts for more doctor visits per year than any other ailment, and that adults get an average of between 2 to 4 per year, and kids could get twice that many. Although these statistics are enough to make anyone become germophobic, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of illness, and many of them are easy enough to fit into your lifestyle right away.
Balance Your Diet
Eating well is crucial to good health. Besides helping you avoid chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease, it can help you feel more full of life by boosting energy levels and keeping your immune system strong. Try to eat from each of the major food groups on a daily basis, and opt for maintaining good eating habits instead of erratically going on diets.
Wash Your Hands (and Elbows!) Thoroughly
There’s no substitute for a mild soap and plentiful amounts of water when it comes to fighting germs. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers are convenient, it’s best not to use them on a regular basis, because besides killing all the bad bacteria, they’ll kill good varieties as well. Growing up, your parents might have urged you to wash all the way up to your elbows before eating dinner, and it turns out they might have been onto something. Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder found along with the fingers and palms, the forearms are among the top places on the body for bacteria to thrive.
Keep Stress at a Minimum
Between work, family responsibilities and personal relationships, there are no shortage of things that could cause you to feel stressed out. Beyond making it harder to sleep well at night, constantly feeling stressed could make your body less able to fight disease. Everyone manages stress differently, but when you take time to find out what works best for you, it’ll be easier to take action before you start to break a sweat.
Get Your Annual Physical
A study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that every year, an estimated 44 million American adults get an annual physical. Because these periodic examinations are often the first line of defense against a potentially fatal disease, taking an hour or two out of a busy schedule to meet with your doctor could make a difference in the long run. It’s not enough to simply wait until symptoms occur before getting checked out. According to RightDiagnosis.com, some diseases, including cancers of the breast, lungs and colon, obstructive sleep apnea, and osteoporosis are among the many ailments that often don’t show symptoms in early stages.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that physical activity is one of the most beneficial things that anyone can do to stay healthier. The advantages are numerous and include a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, stronger bones and muscles, a longer lifespan and better mood among many others. Ideally, get at least two and a half hours of vigorous exercise every week for maximum effects.
Getting sick is always a hassle, but the good news is that by following the tips above, it’s easier to give yourself a better chance of staying healthy through every season.
Tracy Rentz blogs for health sites nationwide. If you are interested in a career in the health field but you want to keep your full-time job, consider the flexibility of getting an mph online.
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