Optimize Your Immune System Against Illness

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Our office is small enough as it is, but when the majority of the people don’t show up, this place becomes a ghost town, and that’s exactly what happened earlier this week when only three of my company-mates made it into the office. No, they weren’t all playing hooky (your secret is safe with me, buddy), they were all sick. Somehow, through the devilish magic of illness, 75 percent of my office got sick on the same day and though most returned to work just a day later, the fear of getting sick had been stoked in the remaining 25 percent of us.

Offices are kind of like daycares in that once one person gets sick, so does everyone else, which is terrifying because if there is one thing most people hate, it’s being sick - I’d rather step on a Lego twice a day for three months than get the flu.

So how do we avoid this terrible fate during the height of sick season? Follow along and find out.

WASH YOUR HANDS

You’ve seen this on every bathroom door every year during cold and flu season. The best way to avoid the bug, is to keep those hands squeaky clean. This doesn’t just apply to the bathroom, by the way. Whenever you get off public transit, go grocery shopping, or return from any public area, do yourself, and your immune system, a great service and lather up those palms.

If you can’t wash your hands right away, make a conscious effort to not touch your face until you can find some soap. If you don’t want to be so careful (read: neurotic) about washing your hands, carry some Purell with you. It’s insurance in a tiny bottle.

The other side of keeping clean is not getting dirty in the first place. Be mindful of the surfaces you touch throughout the day and think about how many people have touched them, and how many of those people haven’t washed their hands…exactly.

Long story short: wash your hands.

DRINK OODLES OF WATER

Water is vital to our continued existence as human beings, but assuming you’re not starving yourself of water, the more water you drink, the better your body will be at warding off harmful bacteria and illnesses. This is because a dehydrated body cannot function at optimal levels, leaving it susceptible to germs. However, a hydrated body can more effectively rinse the body of those harmful germmies and keep you right as rain (#waterpuns).

There are different schools of thought on how much water you should drink a day, but the generally accepted amount is 64 ounces (eight 8-ounce glasses). I know that sounds like a lot, but in practice, it’s actually a fairly easy target to hit. Plus, your body will thank you for it.

EXERCISE

We talk about the importance of exercise a lot here, but I guess that just shows how important it is to get your body moving. Getting your heart rate up, and your blood pumping is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the oncoming train of sickness. It gives your immune system a boost, and keeps your vital organs humming along nicely.

Gyms are gross and are home to untold amounts of horrifyingly disgusting germmies. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and wipe down the area you just used (most gyms have antibacterial wipes). Nothing worse than making contact with someone else’s sweat residue. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands.

SLEEP

I know we’re all about optimizing and making the most of your time and sometimes sleep can feel counter-productive to that, but in at least one case (this one) sleep may be the best thing you can do with your time.

Sleeping is your body’s time to repair itself and protect itself from infection. With a good sleep schedule, your body can focus on its inner workings and devote the proper attention to fighting back against viruses and infections. That’s why sleep is often prescribed when you fall ill, it’s your bodies time to get to work against whatever is attacking it.

If you have a hard time getting a decent amount of sleep, try picking up a workout regimen (see above). Getting a good workout in tends to make you more tired, allowing you to fall asleep easier, and for longer.

Whatever it is you do, stay healthy, my friends.

Until next time – don’t forget your vitamin C!

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Arye

When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.