I Never Get Sick. Here’s How.
That title is almost Upworthy, I think.
The people of the internet love to give advice. Much of this advice has strong foundations in anecdotal experience and Wikipedia research. I figured it was about time I add my $0.02. During my undergrad degree, I took a technical speech course. My professor was from the speech department and was convinced that my class of engineers and premeds was nerdy and prejudiced. She unknowingly presented to us exactly how not to talk to a group of people that you have stereotyped.
At one point in the course, we had to give demonstration speeches – we had to explain how to do something (I had forgotten this fancy technical term and had to look it up). A big part of her class was about audience. She encouraged us to survey our audience and determine what would interest them. Then, we were to run our ideas past her. She was very opinionated. I surveyed our class and guessed that self portrait skills would interest them. With the ever present smartphone and social media websites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram, everyone is now a wannabe photographer or at least has a bathroom mirror profile picture.
She told me that the guys in our class would find this boring; what would be much more interesting is how to cure the common cold. Because the majority of us were premed, we would be fascinated by such things. I tried to politely explain that there was no cure for the common cold. It’s a virus which needs to just run its course. You can lessen the effects with immune support, but you can’t “cure” it with a pill or something. She insisted that this was an interesting topic, so I found peer-reviewed articles on how to treat the cold. I will spare you the details, because it was well-researched, unhelpful, and utterly boring. My audience (outside of my professor) had glazed eyes and blank expressions the entire time, but my professor was the one grading me so it served its purpose.
I am almost never sick with colds/flus/secondary infections. Outside of when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I haven’t needed oral antibiotics in at least six years. Anytime I do come down with a cold, I kick it within a day or two. This list includes all the things I think contribute to my lack of illness. Correlation or causation, I’m not sure, but that’s what the internet is for – poorly researched opinion disguised as fact. If you decide to follow this list, just know that it won’t protect you from autoimmune disorders or mysterious maladies, because I’ve suffered from a few of those.
- Love your little friends. I’m not at all germophobic. I’m pretty much the exact opposite. I don’t use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer, I don’t avoid sick people, and I eat fermented foods on a regular basis (yogurt, Kombucha, etc.). I also eat precious food items that I have dropped on the floor such as chocolate or raspberries. My floor is cleaned regularly and my pets are all plants so this isn’t as concerning as you think.
- Eat your veggies. I limit my intake of processed foods, processed grains, and sugar primarily because I feel crappy if I eat too much junk. I get really excited when strawberries or sweet peppers are BOGO. I also take Vitamin D and B12 when I remember which isn’t as often as it should be.
- Balance. I don’t deprive myself of sleep. I try to not stress a lot. I stay active. I maintain balance between free time and work/school. (Ha! Really, it is just that I try to maintain balance. Anytime I stray from this I get sick and am forced to reconsider my commitments.)
- If you do get sick, pretend to be dying. If I get a cold, I tell everyone I’m really ill and take a day off. I use this day to remain immobile in bed. I take these sick days very seriously and I make sure that I spend at least 75% of them in a comatose state of “sleeping”.
- Work at a preschool. I worked as an assistant teacher at a preschool my senior year of high school. I supervised fifteen 2 1/2 year-olds who were not potty trained and loved me so much that they sneezed and cried and pooped on me on a regular basis. I was sick every two weeks with some childhood malady. I’ve pretty much never been sick since.
I think #5 is the most effective. The money wasn’t bad either especially when compared to the food service jobs I could have worked. If you’re looking to invest in your long-term health (but not your short-term sanity), take a break from whatever you are currently doing with your life and work in preschool for a year. You will benefit greatly from this. You will learn patience as a survival mechanism. You will develop an appreciation for silence. You will come home from work and attempt to breathe without making noise so that you don’t disturb the peace that you have been waiting for all day. You will be given many gifts: kisses, flowers, drawings, hugs, teacher mugs, gift cards, smiles, innocent unconditional love, and viruses. You will suffer from every vaguely contagious sniffle possible, and your immune system will become wise and wily. You will have a guaranteed immunity to all the “gifts” that go around.
I think every time my body is exposed to something now, my T-cells just chuckle, reminisce, and throw their reserves into gear.