Sickness for Your Health

We go to great lengths to avoid sickness. But research suggests that germ exposure promotes a more robust immune system, perhaps even priming your body to battle more serious diseases.

Feeling under the weather? Instead of reaching for the medicines…

Sleep. Nothing begs your body to rest like a cold, so snooze until noon… or just read a book. Today, when the fast lane is the only lane, time out may be just what you need for conserving energy to combat illness. Just be sure to get up and move every few hours to circulate blood flow.

Hydrate. Flush out viruses by sipping warm lemon water with honey, herb teas, or clear broth. Enjoy a hot bowl of chicken soup — the spices and certain compounds boost immune response, thin mucus, and reduce inflammation.

Relieve symptoms. Forget decongestants, which can delay recovery. Think twice before popping ibuprofen for pain — new studies suggest it may dial back your immune response. And beware of too much acetaminophen, which can damage your liver. Instead, gargle with salt water to soothe your sore throat and shorten its duration. Try saline sprays to open up nasal passages. If the sun is out, bundle up and grab some rays — vitamin D supports healing while fresh air invigorates.

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