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Immune to illness: How to boost your immune system just in time for cold and flu season

Everyone has that one friend who can't touch a door knob or paper towel dispenser in the bathroom without reaching immediately for that mini bottle of hand sanitizer they have in their purse, hand bag or pocket.
Maybe, that person is you.
In any event, keeping germs at bay during the next few months is paramount for the masses, particularly in the midst of cold and flu season and with the Ebola scare summoning more attention and eyes as patients get diagnosed one after another on a much to regular basis.
Staying flu or cold free isn't always the easiest task but not for the reasons you might believe. Of course, you have more than just a handful of people who really don't pay much attention to the big (or little) things they can do to stay safe as it relates to getting sick.
The opposite end of the spectrum are those who work a little too diligently at it. Even though that behavior sounds more full proof than foolish, take hand washing for example. The idea that you should be scrubbing your hands every chance you get is smart but not to the point where it becomes excessive. Your immune system has to be prepared to battle at least some germs, so ridding yourself of everything every time puts that same immune system in jeopardy of essentially being defenseless since it hasn't been accustomed to seeing anything dangerous in its path relatively speaking.

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That's not to suggest that hand sanitizer or hot water and soap is bad but just not to be used as frequently as you assume. The same principle can be said for thinking that steering clear of people or large groups also is going to do wonders as far as prevention of illness. Again, the same theory rings true about your immune system: the more contact you have with large groups, the better your immune system is at fighting back when germs are turned loose.
Naturally, you want to steer clear of a large group when a few within that pack are already sick. Exposing yourself to someone sick is a lot different than ditching the holiday work party because you don't want to be around other people. Think of the immune system like a competent sparring partner: you want to bat it around and pop it a few times, just not with a knockout blow.
In addition to training your immune system well, you also want to stick to the basics: exercise, eating healthy, like lots of Vitamin C, and getting enough rest and decreasing stress. All of those things when accomplished help fortify your ability to fight off infection, otherwise your body is in a weakened state and more likely to become sick.
And no amount of hand sanitizer is going to do much for you after you've already gotten sick.

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