Wintertime is here, and along with that comes the extreme and constant fear that we’re going to get sick. So we try to bundle up, use excess amounts of hand sanitizer, and utilize the awesomely-named vampire cough. However, are we going about this the right way? Does quarantining our office mate who has a mild case of the sniffles really prevent a company-wide flu outbreak?
Well, it’s a bit complicated. You see, there’s no doubt that germs can lead to a sick day. However, sometimes there’s simply no way to stop it from happening. While you may try and hold your breath the moment someone across the street sneezes, the fact is that people doing anything from talking to breathing can spread viruses. So, unless you want to cut yourself off from human contact altogether (even if you want to do that every once in awhile), the germs are coming.
Additionally, barraging your hands with gallons of hand sanitizer and constant hand washing may be counterproductive. While it’s definitely important to keep the hands free of germs, non-stop cleansing can leave you unable to defend yourself against bacteria, ironically leading to illness.
So while holding your breath and over-washing your hands may not be the best way to stave off a nasty cold, what is the ideal strategy? Reducing stress should definitely be your first course of action. When you’re stressed out, certain hormones such as glucocorticoids are released, which hamper the body’s production of cytokines. In other words (without hard-to-spell hormones), it makes your body more susceptible to illness.
So, if you take nothing else from this article, take this one word with you: RELAX. And eat some shitake mushrooms. Not the first thing that comes to mind, but they seem to do the trick.
Germs are all around us, and unless you’ve invested in a plastic bubble, you’re going to come in contact with them. However, it’s not worth stressing over them, especially since that could be the fast track to getting a cold. Hand washing in moderation, getting an adequate amount of rest, and (of course) upping your mushroom intake can help keep you healthy this winter.
Author: Anthony Elio
Anthony Elio is a staff writer for Innovation & Tech Today. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing music, breakfast foods, and debating that Revenge Of The Sith is better than The Force Awakens.