Knowing how to not get sick means keeping your immune system strong and reducing your exposure to germs. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, these measures are more important than ever; social distancing, face coverings, and cleaning are critical to reducing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.
But what are the best ways to prevent getting sick today? Here’s an overview of CDC (Center for Disease Control) suggestions regarding coronavirus and some other tactics to boost immunity on the whole. If you are sick or concerned about COVID-19, please speak with your doctor as the following is not medical advice.
How to Avoid Getting Sick in 2020
- Social distance, which means maintaining a distance of 6 ft or more.
- Wash hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap.
- Avoid groups, those who may have been exposed, and those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Cover one’s nose and mouth with a face covering, such as a face shield, when in public.
- Stay up-to-date on evolving hot spots, CDC guidelines, and your community's business reopening guidelines.
There is no way to guarantee immunity or protection from the coronavirus or any other virus for which there isn’t a vaccine. The CDC suggests doing the above, along with speaking with your physician if you are worried about coronavirus, have a preexisting condition, or have any additional questions.
12 Habits to Prevent Getting Sick (Cold and Flu)
Beyond the pandemic, many people are wondering what habits to adopt for a healthier lifestyle that puts them less at risk for colds and the flu. Note that none of these lifestyle habits are proven to protect against coronavirus. Studies have found that they may boost immune responses to a variety of everyday germs, but that does not guarantee immunity.
- Eat vegetables (and skip the processed food).
- Avoid touching your face and wear a face covering.
- Take Vitamin D.
- Wash your hands (a great rule beyond pandemics).
- Don’t share personal items like a water glass, toothbrush, or towel.
- Don’t overdo it with the alcohol.
- Exercise regularly.
- Clean commonly touched surfaces, like doorknobs, faucet handles, tables, chairs, etc.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid those who show signs of illness.
- Get a flu shot.
- Pay attention to your mental health and engage in calming activities.
Why Eating Your Vegetables May Help Prevent Getting Sick
There’s a reason why your parents told you to eat your vegetables: One study in mice found that compounds found in cruciferous veggies (think: broccoli, kale, and cabbage) may have antibacterial and antiviral effects.
Avoid Touching Your Face and Wear a Face Covering
Viruses may enter the body through the face, especially the nose, mouth, and eyes. For that reason, it’s a great idea to avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands.
Vitamin D May Help You Not Get Sick
Vitamin D, which the body can absorb from sunlight, is also found in tuna, salmon, and eggs, as well as supplements. Not only is Vitamin D important for bone growth, but a lack of it can affect the body’s immune response and make the body more vulnerable to infections, according to research.
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly and Consistently
The CDC strongly recommends handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap during the coronavirus pandemic. However, this is a good habit to avoid getting sick from the cold or flu, too.
Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol may suppress the body’s immune response. One review suggests that heavy alcohol consumption may be linked to an increased risk of pneumonia and acute respiratory syndrome.
Don’t Share Some Things
Wondering how not to get sick? Don’t share water glasses, food, toothbrushes, towels, and other personal items with others. This is a great habit to adopt 365 days a year.
Exercising Regularly May Help You Avoid Getting Sick
Some research suggests that exercising may help bacteria move out of the body’s airways. It may also affect the body’s white cell blood count, which impacts one’s ability to fight off germs.
Cleaning Is Critical During Pandemics and Beyond
The CDC recommends adopting routine cleaning measures during the pandemic to keep commonly touched surfaces in the household, workplace, and public places clean.
For example, cleaning doorknobs, faucets, tables, and appliances in the home with EPA-approved cleaning agents is recommended as a response to the pandemic. Such measures should be replicated in the workplace and other intensive cleaning procedures adopted. For example, many grocery stores are cleaning checkout kiosks after each customer’s use.
Get 8 Hours of Sleep a Night (or More)
Sleep is thought to be important when recovering from an illness — not just to prevent getting sick in the first place. One study found that individuals who had less than 8 hours of sleep a night were almost 3x more likely to contract the common cold.
Avoid People Who Are Sick
Staying away from those who are ill is always a good idea. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those who are at high risk of infection, have been traveling, are exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, or have been diagnosed with the virus should self-quarantine for extended periods of time laid out in CDC guidelines. If you believe that you are at risk of COVID-19 or have further questions, speak with your doctor.
Prioritizing Mental Health May Help to Prevent Getting Sick
The body and the mind do not operate independently from one another. As put forth in The Immune System and Mental Health, stress and other mental conditions may suppress the body’s immune response.
How to Not Get Sick in 2020
There is no way to guarantee protection from COVID-19 or any other virus.
In general, adopting consistent healthy habits is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system. This means paying attention to diet, sleep, exercise, and mental health as well as washing hands, covering one’s face in public, and avoiding those who are sick.
Today, the topic of preventing sickness is more important than ever. When it comes to the coronavirus, practicing social distancing, hand washing, and wearing face coverings is crucial to reducing the chances of illness and flattening the curve.