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It feels as if I am always in some phase of sickroom — the
start of a cold, then end of a stomach bug, the midst of allergies. It’s always
But here is what I don’t get: I eat well, with a diet full of
organic products, Greek yogurt, kale and quinoa. I sleep about seven to eight hours a
night. I perform a fair amount of exercise each week. And I, in the midst of
paranoia about my health, had a full blood panel done with the results declaring
that I was healthy as could be, save for being deficient in vitamin D (but
really, who isn’t these days?).
Yet here I am, again, in a state of sniffling, coughing
and/or queasiness, looking up my symptoms on WebMd and diagnosing myself with
something far more exotic and devastating than a cold or passing flu. The
illness of the day doesn’t just take hold of my body, but kidnaps my brain.
While I lay curled up on the couch, wresting with the newest
virus that has invaded my body, I decided that enough was enough. I can’t let
these germs rule my world. I would fight back against the seasonal this, that
and the other. I know germs will always be there, but I am going to do
everything I can to build up my immune system in order to try to avoid all the
upcoming sicknesses (especially with a germ carrier like
a kid in the house). We moms, we don’t have time to get sick, now do we?
I could have asked my doctor or gone, again, to WebMD for
advice on the topic. Instead, I asked my super smart Facebook friends
what they do to help their immune systems do their jobs. You know what?
I think I’ll try them all.
1. Hand washing.
This is considered the first line of defense. But the thing about it, is it is so easy to
forget to do. When you wash your hands, make sure to use soap, lather and
rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and repeat often
throughout the day.
While there is a whole debate about the usage of
hand sanitizers, they can come in really handy if you are out and about, handling all sorts of things that other humans may have touched. Often, there is no access to a place to wash your hands the old-fashioned way. I’ve decided I
will keep a bottle in my car, so after handling money at the supermarket or
helping out at my daughter’s school, I can kill a few germs before proceeding
with my day.
This is another debatable topic, with some
totally backing the yearly flu vaccine while others think of the flu vaccine as
more of poison than protection. With the amount of viruses that I get, I
think this year – for sure – will be one where I get the shot.
This sentence is so, so, so much
easier to type than to live. If you are a parent, if you work or if you
enjoy the crazy combo of working and parenting, then rest is not something you get
very often (if at all). Stress comes with both working and parenting.
I find that, as a working mom, I am in an almost constant state of stress. This is, I’m sure, kicking my immune system’s ass. There is no easy fix for
this one, but it’s a biggie nonetheless.
Remembering to take a pill is far easier than dealing with being sick.
5. Stay hydrated.
8-ounces of water I’m supposed to be drinking everyday? Yeah, that doesn’t
happen. But it should. Apparently, keeping hydrated by sipping on water all day
will help your immune system.
6. Eat a real
I had not one but two friends swear that eating a real
orange once a day helps keep the doctor away. (I always thought it was apples,
but apparently oranges work too.) It’s not just a nice kick of vitamin C, but
they are pretty darn yummy.
7. Eat ginger.
Instead of oranges, a couple of friends swore ginger helped. There are a couple
of different options, you can just chew on a piece of fresh ginger each day, or
you can make a tea by steeping a piece of ginger in hot water and adding a
little honey. This is best for those who like the taste of ginger, otherwise you can always get supplements.
Every time I put on Facebook that I have an illness, my dear friend and
colleague Meredith Cohen Carroll writes in all caps, "TAKE DIGESTIVE PROBIOTICS." She’s right, totally right. All sorts of studies confirm that taking them daily
helps with immunity. But I am just so bad at taking something everyday. Remembering to take a pill is far easier than dealing with being sick.