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How Dirty is Your Cell Phone?  Find out here and other tips to prevent the flu and colds! 

Your lifestyle choices dictate how well your immune system can prevent germs, viruses and even chronic illness and disease. 

Colds and flu are rampant in the fall and winter and many people are at their wits end come March. They do everything they know to prevent getting ill and, despite all they have tried to keep colds and flu away, they are still in bed, coughing, sneezing, struggling to breathe and feeling as if they had been hit by a truck.

What is the Secret to an Optimized Immune System?  Check Out These Six Tips:

1. Hand Washing (Yes!)

What if I told you that there is one major action you can take to prevent these health disasters from interrupting your life?  There is and it is called hand washing.

Protecting our health for men, women and children, goes far beyond just colds and flu; lethal bacteria, germs, inhaled mold spores, viruses and other micro organisms are lurking around waiting for an opportune moment to invade, thereby causing serious lethal complications such as pneumonia, staphylococcus infections, e. coli infections, life-threatening diarrhea and more. Hand washing is literally your first-line defense to staying healthy in all ways!

What happens if you don’t wash your hands?  It all begins with what you touch in your daily life. It cannot be overstated that we all touch multiple objects every day without consciously realizing it, including our face, eyes, nose and mouth where infection entry is almost guaranteed.

Take viruses and bacteria on the hands for example. There have been countless demonstrations conducted using a powdered product, which simulates the presence of real germs. When illuminated under a UV light, it is astonishing how our hands and nails are simply a hotbed of germs, simply covered in them. These demonstrations also show how quickly and easily cross-contamination occurs. 

Now in real life, we literally cannot see these harmful invaders, so it is crucial we remove them the best way we know how…via washing our hands.  

What about hand sanitizers you may ask? With flu concerns prevalent, the Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans correctly believe that hand washing is more effective in removing germs than hand sanitizer – a fact supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Essentially, hand sanitizers work but not as powerfully as simple soap and water.

The survey also found that, in response to flu outbreaks, Americans become more conscientious about hand washing when they’re out and about. Nearly 80% say they wash their hands more frequently, more thoroughly or longer after using a public restroom.

What is the optimal way to wash our hands?  Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, creating a full lather and the lather needs to reach all crevices of your hands (including under nails) and wrists.

In addition to washing your hands, there are other actions you can take to ensure your immune system can withstand the nasty invaders such as the cold and flu viruses:

2. Get Your Zzz’s

Studies show those who do not get enough sleep or quality of sleep are more apt to get sick when exposed to a cold or flu virus. While we sleep, cytokines are released and they are very protective in keeping us healthy. However, when we lack sufficient sleep, the production of these proteins decreases leaving us vulnerable to illness. Additionally, when we lack sleep, disease-fighting antibodies that keep us from infections are reduced as well.

The average amount of sleep for healthy adults to maintain an optimal immune system is 7-9 hours a night.

3. Work Out Regularly

Exercise is key to create a life that is healthy, resilient, stress-free, happier and leaner.  Moving your body consistently also ramps up your immune system leaving you less vulnerable to invading bacteria and viruses. Some studies show that a moderate level of exercise most days of the week can help prevent the number of colds you get. 

Aim for 5 days a week of moderate intensity, in any form, to boost your immune system. 

4. Clean Your Phone

Research has found that each square inch of your cell phone contains roughly 25,000 germs, making it one of the filthiest things you come in contact with on a daily basis. Studies have found many different types of bacteria and viruses on phones which can be a potent source of transmission.

Research shows that our cell phones, if not cleaned, contains 10 times more bacteria than a toilet. It is very important to keep cell phones clean to help stop the harmful bacteria from causing illness. 

There are a few different ways to clean your phone: one is with an ultra-violet sterilizer; you can also wipe down the phone with 60% rubbing alcohol; or use a combination of water and vinegar and wipe down. 

I recommend cleaning your phone once a day or as needed.

5. Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Eating a diet rich in nutrients is crucial to create resilience against unhealthy bacteria, viruses and poor health in general. Without strong cellular health, our immunity wanes and we cannot fight off the microscopic invaders. 

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that will reduce cellular inflammation leaving you healthy and strong. Choose foods such as:  berries, fatty fish such as salmon, spices, leafy greens, teas and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower.

6. Practice Stress Reduction 

Taking proactive stress reduction will help you to live a happier, calmer and healthier life. Chronic stress reduces our immune system function, creating a welcoming invitation to unhealthy bacteria and viruses. 

Stress causes your body to produce greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In small amounts, cortisol is a beneficial hormone. However, chronic cortisol will eventually have a marked impact upon your immune system leaving you at greater risk of illness.

Additionally, chronic stress reduces the body’s lymphocytes – the white blood cells that fight off all infections. 

There are many ways to reduce stress such as daily relaxation, meditation or guided meditation, tai chi or deep breathing.  Here is an example of deep breathing called the 4-7-8 Techniquethat can be used every day and anywhere to protect you from the ravages of stress and keep your immune system strong:

  • Breathe in for 4 seconds
  • Hold for 7 Seconds
  • Exhale for 8 Seconds

If you practice all or even some of these prevention strategies, you’re in good shape to stay healthy through cold and flu season.

Thanks for Lori Shemek 👌

Marwan Ghayad

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