- Eat garlic (raw is ideal—sorry friends and family!—but cooked will help, too).
- Drink immune-boosting tea; ginger and medicinal mushroom (yup, that’s a thing!) are best.
- Keep hand sanitizer accessible (on your desk or in your bag or in your car) but pay attention to the alcohol content; it must be at least 60 percent to be effective.
- Use a saline spray in your nose before work.
- Wash your hands after touching things (elevator buttons, door handles, that pen at the bank) and even looking at the guy who just sneezed.
- Do an afternoon nasal spray, (Then wash your hands. Again.)
Mehmet Oz, MD, is a professor of surgery at Columbia University, a bestselling author, and the host of the Emmy-winning daytime talk show The Dr. Oz Show.
First you have to prep your body to fight the inevitable public space germs—at the office, on public transit, at the movie theater, etc.— then think about getting rid of the germs you’ve already caught. Eating garlic really boosts your immune system—it ups the production of your disease-fighting white blood cells—but that doesn’t mean you have to chomp on a raw clove. Try mixing minced garlic into salad dressings or soups, making garlic toasts (mix minced garlic with butter or ghee, spread on a toasted baguette), add it to bean dips or, hello, tzatziki! Aim to incorporate a clove a day at least several times a week. The tea boosts energy and flushes toxins, and the saline works two ways: washing bacteria away before it can infect you, and preventing your nose from drying out (a dry nose makes it easier to get sick). And then hand-washing, as needed. And it’s always needed—if we learned one thing during the coronavirus pandemic it’s that we all touch our faces way more than we think. Hand sanitizer is good if it’s all you have available, but it doesn’t get rid of certain germs, like the norovirus, so be sure you’re hand-washing, too. And you know you have to do that for twenty seconds, right?
Pro tip: Feel something coming on? Here’s how to tell if it’s a cold or the flu: Cold symptoms appear slowly over several days and affect your head (congestion, sneezing, sore throat) while the flu hits suddenly and affects your whole body (aches, fever, stomach troubles). Kinda makes you want to wash your hands again, amirite?
When you use a public restroom, do you tend to skip the first stall and choose one farther away from the entrance? Yup! Experts theorize that people do this in order to have a little more privacy. But because the first stall is used least often, it con- tains the lowest bacteria levels. Amazing! Instead of skipping the first stall, choose it in order to help avoid possible infections.
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