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Surprising Ways We Get Sick and Unexpected Ways To Not Get Sick

It’s that time of year when a muffled sneeze or throaty cough elicits a fear of the return of the black plague in everyone. Since going outside without a jacket or with a wet head of hair will not get you sick, despite what most mothers would like you to believe, what are some real ways to not get sick?

Besides the obvious high risk jobs, such as working retail this time of year, there are some surprising ways we get sick and unexpected ways to not get sick everyone should at least know about (and if brave enough, tell their mothers about).

getting a cold

Flu Outbreak 1918
By National Photo Company (Library of Congress[1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

First, Surprising Ways We Get Sick

This may surprise you but by not succumbing to our inner hermit, you are actually doing yourself a huge favor. By exposing yourself in small amounts to other people’s germs, you are less likely to come down with a cold or the flu. It is not so different than having seasonally pale skin.  When going out in the sun for the first time, you will likely get burned. A little exposure here and there is good for you. Not saying you should stop washing your hands or ditch the hand sanitizer, even if it has been claimed to be ineffective in killing bacteria recently, good hygiene is basic in preventing an illness.

When we touch anywhere on our face (lips, nose, eyes) we are injecting whatever is on our fingertips directly into our bodies. Think twice before touching your face.


how to not get sick

Photo:By James Heilman, MD (Own work)CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

“Paranoia will destroya'” is what they say, and if you rush to your doctor for every booger, you are just destroying your chances of a speedy recovery when you really need help. Many Americans rely on the “cure all pill”, and often it is in the form of antibiotics. Taking too many antibiotics leads to a resistance or immunity to antibiotics, thus rendering them ineffective when there is a serious bacterial infection.

If you don’t smoke and don’t drink to excess, besides being the master of will power, you are a whole lot less likely to get sick. Since both of those two common addictions fill our bodies with foreign and poisonous chemicals they are equally toxic to our immune system as a cold or flu bacterium and generally don’t mind company sharing your body.  Even being exposed to second hand smoke, and drinking when stressed (isn’t that when you normally drink?) could give you more than a hangover or a lingering cough but allow the flu or bronchitis to thrive inside your body.

the flu shot

Mist Flu Shot
Photo:By U.S. Navy Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Oliver Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Usual Suspects

Getting enough sleep and exercise will not only reduce your chances of getting sick, they are also the two pieces of advice from every doctor in every field of medicine, so there must be some truth, right?

Feeling stressed out, harboring grudges, having negative thoughts or being pessimistic are all non-physical green light signals for bacteria to move on in to your body.

Some Unexpected Ways To Not Get Sick

Even if you work in the retail industry or with the public there are some basic tips everyone can use that will reduce your chances of getting sick this year, besides the flu shot.


Staying hydrated is really the most important thing, which can be accomplished with just water. Juicing has been gaining in popularity along with energy drinks, but you don’t need to be a nutritionist to determine which is likely better for you. Juice is better than water for the vitamins included, and Vitamin C is the superman of the  sickly season, so if you don’t juice, take a supplement of Vitamin C.

Drink Coffee

Arguably not as good for you as the juice, drinking coffee is said to reduce your chances of getting sick.  Drinking anything hot actually (including tea or even eating chicken broth) is supposed to be effective at killing bugs in our system, not to mention the added caffeine boost makes us at least feel better temporarily.

Q-Tip Your Nose

Dipping a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide helps to prevent from getting sick by killing germs upon contact. Since your nostrils are a favorite breeding ground for germs and viruses to incubate in, both alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are safe and effective to use orally or via nasal cavity.

Take Cold Showers

It may sound crazy when the pipes are already frozen but if you take at least a partially cold shower every day, it reduces your chances of getting sick. Not only that but your skin will not be dried out, your hair will look the best it has ever, but you will exit the shower invigorated and energized.

Have Sex (Not With A Sick Partner)

If your are in a committed relationship, sex is an easy and convenient way to get exercise, including sweating and getting those positive juices flowing. Science has proven that this act increases immunoglobulin which is released in our bodies and gives a huge charge to our immune system.

Listen To Your Body, Take a Nap Or Go To Bed Early

If you feel tired, instead of worrying about getting sick, or feeling stressed about how much you have left to do, take a rest, both the worry and stress are worse for your body than not being well-rested. If your appetite isn’t great, instead of assuming you are sick already try eating only healthy things for a couple of days, fruit, salad, fresh soup, in small meals. Nourishing your body from the inside out is the only way to stay healthy and illness free this time of year.

ways we get sick

Lion Around, Taking a Nap
Photo:By Ltshears – Trisha M Shears [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 The old adage to “feed a cold and starve a fever” is not good advice according to medical professionals. You should never starve or force yourself to eat and in both cases, staying hydrated is the most effective medicine in getting better.

About Tonya O'Dell