When you notice a lot of people around you are getting sick, it may put you on your guard. You have to exercise your best efforts to stay healthy and avoid getting sick, particularly during cold and flu season. While it may not always be practical to stay away from people who are sick altogether, there are a lot of things that you can do to protect yourself and reduce your risk of getting sick this year.

Wear a Mask in All Public Places

Just because you see a lot of people aren’t taking masks seriously, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to do the same. In fact, it means you have to be even more conscientious about wearing a mask all the time. There is total consensus in the medical community that masks help to prevent people from transmitting or contracting respiratory infections such as COVID-19.

When you buy face masks online, look for quality and comfort. Masks need to fit you well so you won’t have to be continually adjusting them. Also, be sure to wear your mask correctly. It should fit against your face tightly and should never be below your nose.

Feed Your Immune System Well

Your diet is extremely important to keeping your immune system in its best fighting shape. It’s imperative that you give it essential nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin D.

Avoiding unhealthy foods is also vital to immunity. Much of your immune system is regulated by your gut. Overburdening your gut with foods that are difficult to digest can lead to irregular digestion and a buildup of unhealthy bacteria. Too much unhealthy bacteria lining the walls of your digestive tract can make it difficult for your body to process the beneficial nutrients in the food that you eat. Avoid highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and hydrogenated seed oils that can put a strain on your digestion.

Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics

It may sound counterintuitive that avoiding antibiotics is important to stay healthy because people usually associate antibiotics as a cure-all remedy for infections. However, antibiotics are effective against only bacterial and not viral infections. Don’t seek out antibiotics when you feel a cough or cold coming on.

Overuse of antibiotics may cause you to build up a resistance that will make them less effective if you need them in the future. In addition, since they’re targeted to fight bacteria, they also fight the healthy bacteria that you need to maintain gut health. Your gut’s friendly bacteria could become outnumbered by its unhealthy bacteria after excessive use of certain antibiotics such as amoxicillin or clindamycin, making you vulnerable to a severe infection in your colon or intestines. If you really need to take antibiotics to treat a problem such as a tooth infection, be sure to take plenty of probiotics so you can maintain a good bacterial balance in your digestive system.

Ultimately, you need to be vigilant about protecting yourself. Make an effort to avoid situations that put your health at risk and adopt habits that promote good immune and gut health.