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.

More from Woman's Day:
What steps are you taking to protect yourself from unwanted illnesses this winter?

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Keep those hands clean. Report
I wash my hands a lot during the day after doing things around the house and at work when i do something different. i have a small bottle of sanitizer in the car for must wash hands but at home and work i use soap and water Report
hand sanitizer is a blessing-I carry it & use it where I go! Report
We heard that hand sanitizers are not as effective as water, but we have to make do with the sanitizers when there is no water around and hope for the best when we are not near a tap. Report
I generally wash my hands as often as possible, it is customary to wash your hands as often as possible. Report
Merry Christmas.
I wash my hands often, since I worked as a nurse and it is such a habit now. Report
I've heard many articles that have said that hand sanitizers aren't as effective as plain old soap and water. I can't carry soap and water in my bag, but I can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer. It may not be as effect as washing your hands, but it does work in a pinch. Report
I've stopped drinking from public water fountains, and I've stopped getting colds! Report
I can't way I meditate 45 minutes a day or even 45 minutes a week. I do a yoga workout once a week and during that we do meditate. However, I do exercise 40 minutes every day when I'm able. This holiday season I have been sick with feaver for several days and finally had to go get an antibiotic. So far I still feel sick, but I'm hanging in there because I still know that if I didn't workout at all, I would probably be sick many more times during the year. Report