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Flu, Colds and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well

Flu, Colds and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well

Busted! We admit it: We can be manic about shooing people home at the first snuffle or sneeze, even if they swear they feel well enough to work. Fine; work from home. Just don't spread that virus. (Here's the secret to shrugging off colds.)

Part of it is selfish. We don't want to catch a bug or see half of the staff get it. Part of it is on your behalf. The more often you come to work sick, the more likely you are to get really wiped out down the road.

The evidence behind this: Researchers (love their nitty-gritty brains) have figured out that if you come to work sick at least six times during 12 months, you're 50 percent more likely to be out for weeks within the next 18 months. Why? They think that when your body never gets a chance to completely recuperate, you get more and more run down. Eventually, your immune system cracks, and the next little illness spells big trouble.

What if you can't afford to be sick? Follow our six basic YOU Docs rules for boosting your immunity. They'll help you stay well in the first place.

  1. Get enough ZZZs. You need 7 1/2 to 8 hours of shuteye. Every night!
  2. Get enough vitamin D3. Take 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 after age 60.
  3. Get your ahhhs. Both periods of big stress (e.g., the holidays) and quick hits (e.g., parking rage) take a toll. Carve out 10 minutes a day for meditation, deep breathing and serene stretching. Don't let stress get the best of you.
  4. Walk. It keeps your body humming and your head clear.
  5. Eat and drink like a smart person. These 4 foods will give you an edge.
  6. Wash your hands. Scrub 100 times a day. Okay, 150.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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