How To Avoid Getting Sick In Flu Season

by | Oct 9, 2013

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

It’s weird for me to even write this, but it has been nearly 3 years since I’ve had any illness.

Seriously, not even a cold.

Like most people, I used to get a cold once or twice a year. And every few years I would get a nasty flu that would keep me in bed for days.

That’s just life, I assumed.

Or is it?

Since I’ve been taking better care of myself I really haven’t gotten sick at all. While I would love to attribute this streak of robust health to my vegetable-filled diet and subsequently invincible immune system, there are likely other factors that play important roles in keeping me healthy.

Some of these tips I picked up by seeing first-hand in the lab how easily germs are transmitted and propagated. Others I learned by trial and error. But over the years I’ve seen much of this advice confirmed by scientific data.

These are my top 10 tips (in order) that I attribute to helping me avoid and conquer illness.

Top 10 Tips To Prevent Cold and Flu

  1. Wash your hands. You get sick for one reason and one reason only: germs. Bacteria and viruses make you ill by finding a way into your body through physical contact. Don’t let them get you. Since most of your contact with the world happens through your hands, washing them can stop germs from making the leap from contaminated surfaces to inside your body. Bacteria especially grow and proliferate very easily, so simply touching a lot of different things can spread them all over the stuff you work with daily. Hand washing is especially important after riding public transportation, moving from one environment to another and before eating or preparing food. This review study on hygiene and illness agrees.
  2. Don’t touch your face. Even if your hands are relatively clean, chances are some germs will find a way to survive there. But these parasites will only compromise your health if they can get into your body. The easiest place to transmit illness is through mucous membranes such as your eyes, mouth and nose. Keep your hands away from your face (and food) and make it difficult for germs to find you.
  3. Avoid sick people. Germs are everywhere, but they are particularly concentrated in people who are sick. Keep these people away from you and disinfect everything they touch. Be particularly careful around anyone who regularly works with children, like teachers and pediatricians. Sorry guys, you’re contagious!
  4. Don’t eat group food. In flu season, I completely avoid large party dips that involve dipping directly into the bowl rather than scooping with a clean spoon onto individual plates. Why? People may use the hand they just sneezed in to turn a chip around a few times until they find the perfect dipping angle. That means they are adding their nasty germs directly into the salsa. Yuck.
  5. Get enough sleep. Although I haven’t actually gotten sick, there have been times when I felt as though I might come down with something (this last weekend for instance). One of the best ways I found to avoid getting seriously sick is to get extra sleep for a few days. Recently this recommendation was backed up by some hard science on sleep and illness.
  6. Don’t drink alcohol. Another way to avoid coming down with something serious if you are starting to get sick is to skip on drinking for a few days. According to one study drinking large amounts affects your immune system, making it weaker for 24 hours.
  7. Hydrate. When your body is fighting an illness your immune system is working overtime. Make sure it has everything it needs to function at its best, including plenty of water.
  8. Skip a workout. If you feel like you might be getting sick but aren’t sure, don’t go to the gym. Your body needs all its extra resources to fend off whatever virus or bacteria you’ve been exposed to, so save all the energy you’ve got.
  9. Eat well. You may be disinclined to eat if you aren’t feeling well, but be sure that whatever you do manage to get down is nutritious and healthy. It’s not a good idea to eat foods that induce inflammation (simple sugars and starches) when your body is already weakened. Green juice is a great way to get extra nutrition.
  10. Take your vitamins. One of the most consistent things I’ve noticed that correlates with my health is how often I take my multivitamin and vitamin D. I take a food-based multivitamin from Megafood. Many people are vitamin D deficient, so it is worth getting your levels checked even if you live in a sunny area. To keep mine in a healthy range I take 2,000-4,000 IU vitamin D3 (Carlson), depending on the season.

Since someone will probably ask, no I do not get flu shots. I have nothing against them, but as you can imagine a painful injection to prevent illnesses I don’t get is not a huge priority for me. I may regret this someday.

Also, I do not take echinacea. Every rigorous analysis I’ve seen says it doesn’t work, and it has never been effective for me. Take it if you like, but probably any benefit you get is due to the placebo effect.

How do you avoid cold and flu?

Originally published Sept 28, 2009. Full disclosure, since writing this I had a brief spell of pneumonia in the summer of 2010 that I seemed to catch from my boyfriend (now husband). It was apparently a very virulent strain, since pneumonia is not typically contagious. I’ve not been sick since.

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70 Responses to “How To Avoid Getting Sick In Flu Season”

  1. Great advice! My own secret weapons for building immunity include probiotics, vitamin D, chlorella, and raw garlic. I rarely get sick, but when I do it’s always Thanksgiving weekend. That holiday is just a perfect storm of sugary desserts, alcohol, not enough sleep, stress, and lots of germy little kids!

  2. jennifer says:

    One word: Airborne! When I feel like I’m getting sick, I drink a glass of it and the almost-illness goes away. I can’t live without the stuff. It might all be in my head, but I say do what works for you, and that works for me, so I do it 🙂

    • Mike Loiterman says:

      There are no studies supporting Airborne’s effectiveness that meet scientific standards. Because of this, the manufacturer itself cannot and does not make any actual claims with regard to health.

      On August 14, 2008, a press release from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated that the former owners of Airborne Health, Inc. has agreed to pay up to $30 million to settle FTC charges. According to the FTC’s complaint:
      “there is no competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the claims made by the defendants that Airborne tablets can prevent or reduce the risk of colds, sickness, or infection; protect against or help fight germs; reduce the severity or duration of a cold; and protect against colds, sickness, or infection in crowded places such as airplanes, offices, or schools.”

      So, you’re right. It is all in your head.

  3. Patricia says:

    What a great list. Getting enough sleep is extremely important. I always start to feel under the weather if I’m sleep deprived for too long. Another big contributor to illness for me has been stress so maintaining a balanced lifestyle is a top priority (I can’t tell you how many mystery illnesses I had a year ago which was my most stressful year to date).
    By the way, an added bonus to keeping your hands off of your face is a reduced number of blemishes (since your hands carry more dirt and bacteria that can clog pores).

    PS it was great meeting you this weekend!

  4. I’m a huge believe in vitamin D3. I take 1,000 IUs a day. Fingers crossed it works this winter. I also load up on zinc when I feel a cold coming on.
    Great post!

  5. Matt Shook says:

    My wife and I have a pretty good system going, and we even work with hundreds of kids daily (school/hospital)…so I imagine our immune systems are quite developed.

    Eat good food daily (with garlic like Elanor mentioned above), get daily exercise, get sun when you can, take vitamin D3 (3,000 IUs daily) & other supplements your body desires, avoid stress, and the most important…get plenty of sleep (8-10 hours a night…or more).

  6. Kirsten says:

    I’ve found that limiting my exposure to the general public has helped a LOT. Not saying I’m a hermit, but I used to work retail and that’s when I would get sick all the time, despite doing everything I could to prevent it. Now I work in an office and I hardly ever get sick. But I also think a regular eating and sleeping schedule helps with that quite a bit as well.

    Is it worth mentioning that people should use SOAP when washing their hands? I hear so many people in the restroom at work who don’t – the water runs for only a few seconds and I don’t hear the automatic soap dispenser. I thought the soap thing would be one of those basics that everyone knows, but apparently not.

  7. I rarely get sick. When I do, it usually more because of stress, not germs flying in the air. I follow those ten things pretty well, especially diet, which has an extraordinary amount of vegetables (lots of purple). But, the thing that keeps me healthy the most is outlook on life and the power of prayer. Oh and lots of exercise, a happy marriage, talking things out.

    There was a time I smoked (16 years ago) and I was guaranteed bronchitis every year, so that’s a big one too. I have to stay away from any kind of smoke, and get lots of fresh air.

  8. Jillian says:

    Great advice-especially about taking Vitamin D. The current recommendation is 35IU/pound of body weight per day. Additionally, getting a blood test to see if you’re deficient in Vitamin D is a good first step to take. If you are deficient, you may require more than the 35IU/lb/day recommendation until you reach sufficient level.


    • Laura says:

      Thanks for posting the numbers. I’ve been wondering how to figure that out. I especially want to make sure my toddler is getting enough.

  9. Michael says:

    I’ve seen raw garlic and non-retail echinacea work miracles and not just for colds either but for some very serious stuff.

  10. baahar says:

    Salt water is what works for me best. Whenever I sense that there is a cold coming, I start taking some through the nose with a pipette several times a day and before going to sleep. If I get a cold for some reason I treat it again with salt water 🙂 That way I avoid the nasty headache due to filled sinuses or get rid of it within a day. I also use it against angina (inflammation in the throat) to speed up recovery.

    Recently I also started taking cod liver oil as I’m not getting enough sun and surely lack Vitamin D. I hope it will help with my dental health too. The brand I buy it from (Healthspan in the UK) mixes it with citrus oil so that there is no bad taste at all.

  11. Foodess says:

    I interned at a hospital last year, and I totally paranoid about picking up scary viruses and bacteria – however, I didn’t get sick once the whole year, because I was so rigorous about washing & sanitizing my hands! I definitely picked up more viruses from the University than I did from the hospital. Washing your hands works!

  12. Dan H says:

    That’s a nice list of things that will either prevent a flu or help keep it minor if you get it. The one thing I wanted to mention is that, particularly if you’re working in a hospital, you are spending time around imunocompromised people. By not getting a flu shot, you are increasing the chances of an imperceptibly minor flu in you becoming a dangerous disease in others. Regular handwashing and the rest of the stuff on your list goes a long way towards not transmitting the flu to others, but every step helps.

    It’s also worth noting that H1N1 was doing some nasty things to otherwise healthy people last year (possibly because we hadn’t been exposed to it before). Getting some H1N1 antibody might not be a bad idea.

    Is the shot really that painful for you? 🙂

    • Darya Pino says:

      Yeah, it hurt for days and impacted my workouts. Luckily now I just work with a bunch of tech geeks 😉

    • Jacqueline says:

      Getting a flu shot is NO guarantee that you won’t get or carry the flu. The first time in my life I ever got the flu (age 43) I got it from my boyfriend who did get the flu shot. And at the time I worked in a nursing home, and NONE of the elderly, frail residents that I worked with got the flu. A local naturopath says all his patients who get the flu shot do worse during flu season than those who don’t.
      Also, about echinacea, whatever the “rigorous studies” show, I know many very intelligent seasoned herbalists whose experience shows it does have an effect. Wonder what form of echinacea was used in the studies.

      • Mirra says:

        Echinacea has been a life saver for me if I take it right when I feel something trying to “get” me. Vitamin C and D are essential along with good diet and rest, of course. Lots of water helps.

  13. It could be your age, too — I went through a streak in my 20’s where I rarely got sick. It lasted until I enrolled my daughter in day care. Now I’m sick ALL THE TIME. It’s truly awful. I got some French elderberry syrup, and so far it’s helping keep the current round at a low simmer (the last two rounds erupted into full fledged bacterial tonsillitis, complete with multiple rounds of antibiotics)

  14. Isabelle says:

    Great advice, thanks for posting this! The only thing that – I have to admit – really bugged me is this “kids are little germ factories” platitude. To everyone who shares this notion: on what grounds are you believing this? Why should kids carry and spread more germs than a grown-up? Apply all this great advice to kids and they avoid the flu as well. It all comes down to a strong immune system. I have been building and strengthening the immune system of my 4-year old since day one. He has never (!) been sick, has a runny nose maybe twice a year, whereas I have come down with the flu twice (and he didn’t catch it from me). If a child has a strong immune system, (s)he can fend off viruses and bugs like an adult, even if kids touch their faces regularly.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I was just referring to their tendency to crawl around on the ground and put random things in their mouths. Even if your kid is kept clean, being in contact with other kids can be a problem. But just to be clear, I have zero experience with kids and am basing my opinion on my minimal observations. But people I know who work with kids are definitely the sickest people I know.

    • Pam says:

      Just ask teachers.

      How would germs get into a dip from a chip unless someone touched the dip? No one I know double dips, that surely would do it (and gross everyone out at the same time.)

      I take oscilicoccsinum – (sp?) you spell it. It works.

  15. Lee says:

    Dude, weren’t you two sick not too long ago, I remember you and Kevin Rose’s twitter postings about it and about the great Chinese delivery instead of cooking whilst your flu 😛

  16. Nichole says:

    Been reading your blog for awhile and I really enjoy it. Good tips on keeping healthy during the cold and flu season!

  17. One of the biggest reasons that I stopped getting sick all the time is that I work really hard on building up the good bacteria in my digestive system and removing from my diet the foods that I was sensitive to (ie. gluten, dairy & eggs). A huge portion of the immune system lies around the digestive track which is about 1 cell layer thick…so no good bacteria = bad news. Many people suffer for years with digestive issues thinking that they are normal, which they are not. So, take out what bothers you, add in what you need to stay healthy and presto- I almost never get sick.

    Another trick that one can try is using the Essential Oil blend called Thieves. The story goes that the bodyrobbers during the dark ages used to douse themselves in these particular oil and then rob dead bodies without ever getting the Bubonic plague. I work in a doctors office….plenty of bad germs to go around on a daily basis. I haven’t been sick since December 2009 when I got a bout of stomach bug for a day. Before that was the flu for 3 days in April. I’ve got a pretty good track record and I don’t get a flu shot either.

  18. Jon says:

    Good call on the vitamine D. I’ve been taking about 2000mg a day of Vit D and I’ve managed to avoid getting sick through my entire insane University semester (averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night)!

  19. Ayla says:

    I wish I would stop getting sick! I seem to get sick every few weeks! I think I know why- my little brother seems to be the ultamite germ factory! I went to open house with my little siblings at their elementary school, and my 1st grade little brother stopped to get a drink of water. Can you guess what he did?

    He put his mouth RIGHT ON the water spout! EWW! Now hugs and kisses have been downgraded to “hugs and kiss me on the top of my head so I don’t get sick”

    • Darya Pino says:

      If that’s the case you could try to be extra careful about washing your hands, especially when it comes to eating or touching your face. I’d try that, since there are likely a lot of germs all over the house.

  20. julie says:

    I only get sick when I’m smoking ciggies regularly. Otherwise my immune system works quite well. I’ve never had a flu shot, don’t intend to start. Nor do I use that anti-bacterial soap that they have all over, I just use normal soap. My mom is sick all winter, my dad never. I’ve caught her not washing her hands after using toilet, though, and called her on it, and she denies, denies, denies. I can tell when I’m fighting something, as I get tired and very cold, so I take a break from gym and take a hot bath, eat soup, and after a day or so, good to go. Stupid cigarettes!

  21. Dan says:

    Eating healthy and exercising makes sense, but I think it’s a bit excessive and crazy person-like to deliberately avoid contact with germs. So you don’t get a small cold, good job. Now when you actually get sick, it will be that much worse because your body isn’t used to it.

  22. Natalie says:

    Darya, I’m sooooo glad to see #8 on the list. I’ve always thought that resting instead of working out when you are sick, or feel like you are going to be sick, was a no-brainer. Some people I’ve come across say that it’s better to work out because it’ll help flush out the sickness, making me question what I had originally thought. Needless to say, I’m glad my intuition was correct!

  23. del rashid says:

    i am researching natural health, it is difficult to avoid the flu virus, its seem to be part of our evolutionary heritage. How ever your diet will not protect from flu but your diet can help you recover from flu. History has shown us that Native American, and the Inuits, who had a natural diet lost 90% population to deseases brought by contact with Europeans, small pox being a good example. i live in the UK and during the Swine Flu pandemic, people were attending flu parties so that they could get exposer to the swine flu,to train thier immune system.

    In the Flu season one should get a good intake of Dietery Vitamin D from fish meat etc, with extra vitamin C and Zinc.

  24. del rashid says:

    It is good to understand that diet alone will not protect you from flu, in the UK during the swine flu pandemic many people attended flu parties to get exposer to the flu virus, so that the immune system could be trained . Avoiding the flu in the long term could be bad for your health. Anyway it is good that a combination of zinc and vitamin C taken during the flu season allows the body to better battle the Flu virus.

  25. Bink says:

    Thanks for this article. I get deathly sick twice a year where my oxygen levels decrease requiring me to have breathing treatments. I’m sick now. I’ve just started back with vitamins. My doctor recommended prenatal ones. I’m also taking Emergent C. This product may be a placebo type. We’ll see after some uses. I need tosleep more. I know for me it is the not eating healthy, lack of sleep and no daily vitamins. This will change.

    • ian guthrie says:

      large studies from Scandinavia show that the use of multivitamins has no beneficial effect ,when taken ,with the exception of thiamine and pregnancy ,infact the study showed that is was detrimental and you die sooner when you take them ,that is what the science is saying ,as for the flu shot ,it remains your best chance at avoiding the flu ,and to disuade people from obtaing it ,especially at risk groups ,such as the elderly is at best stupid and at worst criminal

      • Jacqueline says:

        Ian, I think many of us would like the reference to the “science” that says “you die sooner when you take multivitamins.” Also, one wonders where you get this information about the flu shot; there exists evidence that 1- the flu shot can indeed be dangerous, and 2-people who get the flu shot actually fare worse.

  26. ian guthrie says:

    dear Jacqueline
    the flu shot is probably the safest public health intervention that exists .there is zero data out there indicating any risk,
    here is a link to a report of that Danish study ,after all if you dont know exactly with which vitamin you are deficient in it dosnt make sense to supplement ,does it ? TOO much of these things causes badness

    also here is a link to the funniest you tube clip my sister sent me ,just in case I am coming on too overbearing
    for some reason it encapsulates England as I remember her
    yours sincerely Ian

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for pointing out the info on the flu shot – I was going to do it.

      Also, just because you don’t get the flu doesn’t mean you aren’t a carrier for it. The flu shot will let your body kill the flu viruses you get (even if you don’t feel ill) so that you are less likely to transmit the virus to other people.

      I didn’t used to get my flu shot because I also was the type that never got sick (in 40 years, I can almost count the number of times I’ve gotten the flu on one hand), but then I realized that I could be carrying it. With a very ill father, was I risking giving it to him when he possibly could not have handled getting ill?

      Now imagine all the people you meet daily that might also know a person vulnerable to the flu…do you want to be the one to pass it on?

      Sorry to make it sound so scary, but I think it’s irresponsible for a person promoting healthy and responsible living/eating to NOT get the flu vaccine.

      • CreLa says:

        I agree, I find it completely irresponsible and non-empathetic for healthy people to avoid flu-shots.
        The CDC recommends that any person (with a few exceptions) over the age of 6 months get vaccinated. Herd immunity, get your damn flu shots!

      • Jacqueline says:

        Melissa, you really don’t know what you are talking about. Do a little more research about adverse effects of the flu shot, efficacy of the flu shot, how to boost your immune system to keep you healthy (read the comments here as a good start) . Also, according to your theory, if you do get the flu shot, and you are lucky enough not to get the flu, and you are exposed to the flu, you will be carrying it. Your body is not going to “kill” the germs in two seconds.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Dear Ian, where on earth did you get that information from, that getting the flu shot is the safest public health intervention? There actually IS data saying that there are dangers, you just haven’t looked in the right places, you buy the mainstream info paid for by big Pharma. I personally know 4 people who have had adverse effects. Recent data says getting the flu shot makes you 60% less likely to get the flu, those are not very good odds.

      • Zachary says:


        It sounds like you need to do a bit more research yourself. Start with the CDC link CreLa provided. It will point you to the most accurate information regarding influenza vacvination.

        Please feel free to post your sources for your claim of data showing adverse effects in high enough percentages to prohibit vaccination. Or does “Big Pharma” hide that too? Your annecdotal report of 4 friends is not scientifically valid evidence.

        Yes, the seasonal flu shot has an efficacy of about 60%. I find those odds to be pretty good considering that the shot is free and requires little more than a pinprick.

  27. ian guthrie says:

    this was the funny one re: dog in uk park

  28. Dakota says:

    Great posts! I’m a big baby when it comes to getting sick I have been taking airborne and an all natural immune system booster. I’ve heard a lot of good things about echinacea and raw garlic!

  29. Christina Vallance says:

    Great advice!
    For me, there are quite a few things that help me:
    Probably the most imporatant being that I am a germaphobe. I always have sanitizer for when I am out in public and never touch my eyes, nose or mouth until I can get to a sink and wash my hands good. Also washing before cooking or eating is also VERY important. I also try to avoid crowded places during the flu-season. However, thats not always possible and people will go anywhere while they are sick. I cant even count how many cough’s I hear throughout the grocery store, makes me cringe.

    A healthy diet is key. I am a vegetarian, almost vegan, I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil-ect. I get sick a lot less now then when I ate meat and dairy several years ago. I think eating fresh and healthy will boost any immune system.

    One last thing, I take a good multi-vitamin daily. You do get what you pay for, and I always read reviews on them. I take a complete one, that includes iron. Anemia will weaken the immune system. When I do feel a cold coming, I take extra vitamin c. Sometimes I will take emergen-C which also works pretty well.

  30. Tinty says:

    Ive been a chronic cold and flu sufferer for most of my life, i have tried everything, regular exercise, drinking lots of water, fruit, multivitamins, elimanating various food from my diet and still i get the most horrendous flu/colds in the winter. I am a cleanliness freak and wash my hands all the time. Ive tried garlic, ginger and onions, ive tried the most expensive multi vitamin supplements money can buy and yet still i suffer. I dont have kids, i regularly work out and am not overweight. I have tried it all and think i must just be cursed. The fact is no matter how many preventative steps you take in life other people will still not live clean and therefore you will still get colds and flu. If somebody doesnt dispose of a used tissue then the germs will spread, used tissues should actually be flushed down a toilet but how many people actually do this? In a previous flat share another flat mate used to leave her tissues in the bin in the bathroom so the germs would dry and spread to others, of course i moved out. My point is that the inconsiderate nature and lack of understanding of this subject means you suffering from colds/flu is almost unavoidable.

    • Darya Pino says:

      That’s too bad, sounds like you may have a compromised immune system. Have you tried vitamin D specifically? I’ve had many people report that it helps tremendously.

  31. Tinty says:

    I will buy some vitamin d tomorrow morning and see what happens, i will get back to you and let you know if it works out. I’ll buy the high brand expensive stuff.

  32. Abby says:

    In reference to #3 – Avoid Sick People: Check out the site It provides an interactive map where you can see the latest sickness and symptom reports from around the world. Hopefully, this can help you stay healthy!

  33. AB says:

    I used to get terrible colds and sometimes bronchitis in my teens and early 20s, and I had a really bad bout with pneumonia when I was 24. That was 13 years ago (!) and I have rarely gotten sick since. I don’t think I’ve had a cold in years, and except for one 2-day fever a few years ago, haven’t had a fever for years.
    Why this is, I’m not sure. I used to be religious about washing my hands every time I came into my apt building and touched doors, etc, but am not quite as good about it anymore. I think my diet has made the difference. In my 20s, I was poor and eating pasta and cereal all the time. Now, I make sure to get enough protein and fruits and veggies. I’m not fanatical about it, but I just try to make sure I have enough of everything so I don’t feel run-down. Still, the no-sickness thing is almost creepy.

  34. Natalie says:

    Darya, do you know the source of the cholecalciferol from your Ddrops? Is it oil extracted from wool? Thanks.

  35. julie says:

    Seems people who take public transit are sick much more. Touching all the things that others have touched – germy germy!

  36. Kari says:

    About children. . . the problem their immune systems face is school. The more people you contact, the more likely one of them will be sick, right? And schools have a LOT of people in them. And a lot of people don’t keep their kids home when they should. Now add to that the high stress environment school can be for some, the woeful nutrition a lot of kids get, the lack of hygiene in the younger ages and the lack of sleep in the older, and yeah, they got it rough. (No, I can’t cite this, but was taught it in a child psychology class, and had a hunch about it during my own, very ill, childhood.)

    As for what I do now. . . I avoid the flu shot, having had my sickest years be the ones where I had it. I work closely with a lot of people so getting ill in the first place seems to be inevitable, but when I do I stay home to avoid spreading it, and drink a lot of echinacea and rosehip tea. I pretty much hibernate, and if I let myself rest, whatever it is passes quickly.

  37. Austin says:

    Eating nutrient dense organic foods along with supplements is key to not getting sick.

  38. Jonathan says:

    I have to agree with point number 3. I rarely got sick until I started working in the pediatric emergency room at our local hospital. Little guys are fantastic vectors!

    Washing my hands (a lot) and remembering to never touch my face help, but I also hold my breath whenever one of my patients sneezes/coughs/barfs. I figure that I can hold my breath for 20-30 seconds in a pinch, and a lot of pathogens simply disperse or fall to the floor in that time. I’m not sure if there is any evidence to support my breath-holding as prevention hypothesis but I have not gotten sick yet this year…

    Great site, Darya!

  39. Natalia says:

    Love the blog and this post! I couldn’t help but wonder, have you ever tried Olive Leaf Extract? My aussie friend tipped me off to it when my sister had mono and no health insurance – sure enough my sister got better! Pretty amazing. Just wanted to see what your thoughts were on it. Thanks!

  40. Emre says:

    Thanks Darya.. this good information 🙂

  41. Kate says:

    I take public transportation and the minute I get to my desk, before I even set down my bag or take off my jacket, I use a liberal helping of hand sanitizer. And remind myself to not touch my face! After settling in & booting up, I’ll head to the kitchen or bathroom and vigorously suds up a couple of times. I mean, I can practically FEEL other people’s germs on the warm, moist poles I hold onto!!

    I think adding a multi-strain probiotic supplement has helped my immune system tremendously. I started taking one about 7 or 8 months ago for GI issues, which are now 95% recovered, but have noticed that I get WAY less colds and flu since I starting taking it.

    I used to be the person (despite handwashing, lots of veggies, good sleep habits, etc.) who got EVERYTHING. This last year several rounds of illness have come and gone in my workplace, with people sitting within feet of me succumbing to a bug, and I only got one mild cold! Honestly, I usually have 4-6 illnesses every year.

    So: my GI tract is almost completely healthy, I hardly get any colds or flu, and my skin is also calmer and clearer: count me as a probiotics fan.

  42. Ken says:

    Have not had a cold in years. Figure it is because of better eating and a nightly regiment of flossing, brushing my teeth and mouth wash. Have not had a cold ever since I started using mouth wash every evening. Going on 15 years now. As for flu shots I have been getting them for the past 15 years and a pneumonia shot. Have never had the flu. On the other hand my wife has never had a flu shot. She has never had the flu either until last winter. It was so bad she had to be hospitalized. This year she got her first flu shot ever.

  43. Jess says:

    Very interesting article – I would like to add a notion to children are germ carriers.. it’s not the children, it is the environment.

    I work in day care. 26 children between 2 and 3 and 7 members of staff. Every week we have something else going around. November and December it is vomiting and diarrhoea as well as general colds, January flu, February chicken pox.

    Every single day children attend the setting that are unwell, temperature coughs and runny noses. Children haven’t learnt to cover their mouth when coughing and sneezing. I get sneezed on probably about 5 times a day. Vomited on about once a week probably (in particular when covering in the under 2s unit).

    We send children home “immediately” – parent shows up 3 hours later (couldn’t come any sooner) I play nurse checking temperature every 15 mins and holding a child that is basically too unwell to be at nursery but can’t be left unattended. Then parents bring this child back the next day after they had paracetamol in the mornings. “They are just teething”. It is frustrating and this is the reason why we are always sick.

    When we are sick we don’t get paid, so staff come to work sick. When we call in sick we get told off and get disciplinaries – so that’s another reason to come to work and keep spreading those germs.. well could say a lot more about this but i’d better stop #rantover

  44. Michelle says:

    Great article. Years ago my husband had the worst stomach virus and landed him in the er on Christmas eve. I was always a germ avoider , but after this incident became even more vigilent. I would add to things to avoid. If you walk into a retail store and hear people coughing and sneezing, don’t hang around. I shop for food late at night during cold and flu season to avoid people. If you hear someone cough or sneeze I have been known to hold my breath and walk away quickly. Also, anytime I leave my home I treat my hands as if they are biohazards. As soon as I return home, without touching anything in my home I immediately go to the sink and wash my hands. This keeps my home somewhat of a safe zone. Parties are tricky. Not just dip but any food can have germs on it. All it takes is one person who does not yet know they are sick to sneeze in the vicinity of the pepperoni and now the germs are on it now. You pick up a piece and eat and bam, you got it. Most people are not very diligent about containing their germs and of course kids are the worst. B e wary walking past a kid even if they do not seem to be sick. They are like little sneeze bombs waiting to explode. I have been able to avoid illness for the better part of maybe 15 years with these rules. At one point I caught a stomach virus from a friend who made food for a party while she was ill and she sickened over a dozen people with her carelessness. In my mind, once you are exposed as a germ spreader I no longer eat anything you make or even stand near you during flu season.

  45. Sarah Gaddes says:

    Wow, not being sick for 3 years sounds amazing! Hand washing cannot be stressed enough. That and staying away from others who could potentially spread germs. I’m going to have to work on getting enough sleep and not touching my face as often though. Those are two areas that need a little work.

    Great read!

    Sarah Gaddes
    [link removed]

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