At Health Plans In Oregon, we want you to stay as healthy as possible, whether that means providing you free information about health insurance, or simple things you can do to stay healthy and well.
While you may be covered by your health insurance for preventative measures like flu shots, we can all agree that nobody likes being sick. There are a few simple things you can do to help promote staying healthy. One of the more obvious ones is, of course, to wash your hand frequently.
1. Wash Your Hands
We have all heard it a thousand times, but it is still important to stress again. Washing your hands really can make a difference. With the amount of things we touch throughout the course of a day, it is easy to pick up bad germs and get sick if you are not doing anything about it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even says that washing your hands can almost be considered a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. They recommend washing your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. While it is not a cure-all, washing your hands can help decrease your chances of getting sick.
2. Don’t Share
Sharing may be caring, but it is not when you are trying to keep yourself healthy. In schools and on teams, it is easy to share things, such as water bottles, with our friends. While it might be the nice thing to do, we may come to regret it.
Even if someone does not appear to be sick, they may still be carrying the germs. So, if you take a sip out of their water bottle, you are exposing yourself to the risk of getting sick without even knowing it. Everyone has germs–it is unavoidable–so trying to limit the amount of germs we get that are not ours is important. If you limit the sharing, you can do just that.
3. Take Vitamins or Other Precautions
When we are in situations where sharing germs is essentially unavoidable (i.e. school or practice), there are other precautions that can be beneficial to our health. These include vitamin C and products containing it, such as Emergen-C or orange juice.
According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C will not necessarily prevent illness, but it can help mitigate the effects. Taking vitamin C preemptively and consistently can help decrease the chances of coming down with something. Even if you have already begun to experience symptoms, vitamin C can help you get over it sooner. So, loading up on a little extra vitamin C around this time can be helpful.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Contrary to popular belief (or desire), your life does not come to a halt during taper. While the intensity of practices may be lower, life still goes on, and you still have things to do. When we are too busy, we often lose sleep. Too little sleep is never good.
When your body is tired, so is your immune system. The Mayo Clinic says that sleep aids in the production of illness-fighting proteins. If you do not get enough sleep, you do not make enough proteins. Thus, with the less sleep you get, the more run-down your immune system becomes. Making sure you get enough sleep will help keep your immune system in top shape to fight the germs it has to face daily.
5. Try Not to Stress
Staying calm at this point in the season can be difficult. Between the schoolwork load, the anxiety of the upcoming meet, and everything else you are trying to balance, it can seem almost impossible to not stress at least a little bit during taper. Minimizing that stress, however, is essential to staying healthy, both physically and mentally.
Stress, like lack of sleep (which is often a result), runs down the immune system. A beat down immune system simply cannot keep up and cannot prevent you from getting sick. With stress, though, comes more–the mental aspect. A bad mental state is not good for your performance either. As a result, limiting stress is important not only because of the physical toll it takes on you but because of the mental component as well.
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Also see: Oregon.gov