You want to avoid this year’s scary flu and other infectious bugs when you’re working out or traveling. Yet at the same time, hiding out in your home has its own health risks. Here’s how to minimize your chances of picking up other people’s sickness at the gym, in hotels or in other public spaces.
Don’t Skip the Basics
You need to give your immune system its best shot at fighting off bacteria and viruses by keeping it running at peak efficiency. Get at least eight hours of sleep at night, and eat a ‘“rainbow” of colorful foods packed full of antioxidants. Supplements can help fill in the antioxidant gap we well. And, while a yearly flu shot isn’t a magic bullet, it gives you a better-than-average shot of avoiding a serious case of the latest influenza strains.
Fitness Center Precautions
Ironically, neglecting a few basic safety strategies at the gym can sink your health goals. You probably know that fitness centers are the perfect environment for infectious germs to multiply, but are you doing enough to stay safe?
Wiping down a machine before you use is critical, especially the seat and the hand grips. But keep in mind other germ-to-human contact you probably don’t even notice. Anything you set down, including your gym bag and your shoes, can come into contact with a range of fungi and bacteria, which then get passed on to you if your skin touches the affected part of the equipment. The same holds true if you sit down naked on a locker room chair or sauna bench. Wipe down bags and shoes with bacterial wipes frequently, and put a clean towel between your bare skin and gym surfaces. Obviously, never go barefoot in fitness center showers.
Carry antibacterial wipes in your travel bag to wipe down hotel phones, tabletops, and so forth. Packing your own pillowcase can also be helpful. If the area is known for food-borne illness or a current outbreak, stick to bottled water, hot beverages and food, as well as drinks without ice cubes.
If you’re meeting a lot of new people on your business or pleasure trip, be sure to wash your hands frequently. And keep your distance from anyone who is sneezing or coughing!
Header photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash