Board any train in the city, and you’ll notice that there are more people sneezing than standing –and if you know anything about public transportation, you know that’s a lot of people. In addition to the sneezing, there’s the sniffling, the snot, the coughs and a lot of phlegm. The inconsistent snowy-to-sunny from 50 to 30 degree weather hasn’t made things easier for us or our immune systems, and if you’re living like me, neither does your landlord, because he only turns on the heat sometimes. The battle to stay healthy isn’t a battle that you’re fighting alone, though it might seem that way. You’re not the only person who’s contemplating how many ounces of hand sanitizer you can fit into your handbag or calculating the distance between yourself and the man with the ambiguous cough. If you’re healthy, and you’re trying to stay that way, or you’ve been touched by sickness and it’s not something you want to get fully acquainted with, you might want to follow these steps, so you can sick-proof yourself and your life.
Scarves: There is a time to be fashionable and there’s time to be functional. Lucky for you, scarves facilitate both desires. Aside from being one of hipster’s go-to accessories, scarves do a great job of keeping your chest protected from the cold. An added bonus with scarves is that, with an additional raised wrap of the scarf, you can cover your mouth –and improve your chances of remaining healthy.
Common spaces/utilized items: Beware of faucets, door knobs, pots, pans, televisions, television remotes, window sills and etc. This doesn’t mean that you need to slip on a pair of gloves each time you touch something in your apartment, but be vigilant. If your sickly roommate is fishing through the silverware drawer or the TV remote is looking extra grimy, then do yourself a favor and wash whatever she puts her hands on and give that remote a once-over with a Lysol wipe.
Napkins: These little gems are not only valuable when you need to blow your nose, but offer one to your disgusting train-riding neighbor. The fewer germs they spread is better for you and the entire city. Also, when you’re on the train or bus, and you don’t want to put your hands on those germ-y poles, simply place a napkin in your palm, and shield yourself from whatever diseases are trying to sneak themselves into your hand.
Avoid your lover: At least in my experience, the people who will betray your health first are the ones who you love. Be it with a tongue tussle, a peck on the cheek or a prolonged hug, it’s just that easy for their sickness to become your sickness. And while it’s easily said that you don’t care if you get sick in the midst of a passionate embrace, you’ll feel differently when you’re projectile vomiting into your kitchen sink because you couldn’t make it to the bathroom. You can certainly continue to spend time with your sweetie, just try the “hands off” approach.
Wash your hands: Hand sanitizer is all fine and dandy, but if you really want to keep the sick away, put soap in your hands, wash, and repeat. It’s proven that soap and water is much more effective at keeping you healthy.
Wash your bedding: If you’re getting over being sick or a sick person has been in your sphere, make sure that you’re washing anything that might be contaminated. It’d suck if you’d successfully navigated the city, keeping yourself healthy, only to fall victim of germs that have been nesting on your pillowcase.
Sanitize your keyboard/cellphone: Most people forget about their computers and cellphones when considering what length to go to in order to stay healthy. We touch our keyboards and cellphones more than we touch anything these days, so it’s important that we keep them clean, after all, you don’t know who else might be touching your keyboard when you’re away.
Vitamin C & Ginger Tea: Everyone knows that Vitamin C is usually what the doctor ordered. It’s an essential nutrient, has antioxidant activity and is a natural antihistamine. And, Ginger is a short term relief for nausea, can prevent the flu, and can relieve stomach aches.
Lactaid-Free: Steer clear of the milky stuff when you’re trying to stay healthy. Dairy encourages the production of mucus. Ewww.
Shower an hour before you head out: There’s nothing like that fresh and clean feeling, until that tidy feeling leaves you ill because you’ve caught pneumonia. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to properly dry off, so you don’t end up singing the “I’m so sick” blues.
“I have sinuses/allergies”: This may make me sound like a paranoid nut, but I tend not to believe a sneezy person who tells me that they have sinuses or allergies. Somewhere in my mind, I feel like they’re simply trying to keep me from fearing their sickness. My advice, treat them how you would treat any other sick person. Run.