How Your Doctor Stays
Healthy Around Sick Patients


SPECIAL REPORT—Have you ever wondered how doctors seem to never get sick with the cold or flu, even in the midst of viral season? Shhh! We’ve got the inside scoop to this secret of the ages and you can know the insider’s information. While we suffer through congestion, runny noses, sore throats and fevers, our physicians are able to thwart the effects. How are they able to keep the viruses at bay?


Actually, doctors say that it’s really no secret at all. Primarily, doctors are taught fundamentally to practice good hygiene and when going from patient to patient, they wash their hands thoroughly. Viral germs that are on our hands are often transmitted when we touch our faces around our mouths, noses and our eyes. Doctors understand these principles, however many people fail to remember to keep their hands clean regularly and this opens the door to infection.


Doorknobs at home can breed viruses. The water fountain at school can too. Shared pens, table surfaces, salt shakers at restaurants, all can have us sick within days of contact. While sneezing and coughing droplets into the air can obviously transmit germs, most infections will come from contact with surfaces where the active viruses are living. You place your hand on the virus, pick it up and rub your eye. You are now likely to experience the same symptoms of the virus.


So, remember the first rule of thumb is to wash your hands like a doctor would, which means very frequently with soap and warm water. Be guarded about touching any part of your face unless your hands are clean and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands when washing is not possible.


There must be more, right? There can be other tricks of the trade to keep you healthy throughout cold and flu season:


Get your influenza shot annually. While its effectiveness can vary from year to year, it almost always affords some degree of protection against the flu and some other viruses simply because of it boosting your immune system. Despite the myths, influenza vaccines will not give a person the flu. Usually the only side effect (if any) is a bit of soreness in the area of the injection. The only people prone to get sick from a flu shot, is those allergic to chicken eggs, which aids in the incubation process of influenza vaccines. Try to get your vaccine earlier in the flu season, which is usually between October and December. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks before the vaccine is fully effective.


Take vitamin supplements. Popping a daily vitamin & mineral supplement will help keep your body healthy with the essentials. Many doctors take supplements even though they may not recommend it to their patients. While eating the right foods is important, few people practice ideal nutrition and therefore a supplement does just that; it can supply our bodies what we lack in food nutrition. While supplements of Vitamin C or Zinc have not been proven to protect against viruses, some research suggests that they can shorten the duration of symptoms.


Get plenty of rest. Your immune system needs recharging with the rest of your body. If you’re not getting adequate nightly sleep, your body is not operating optimally. 


Exercise. The physically fit body often has a stronger immune system. Dedicate a portion of your day to getting a little exercise, even if it’s a 30-minute walk.


Here are two more recommendable tips:


Wear a hat during cold weather. Research has shown that your mom was right! Wearing a hat does help keep you healthier during the viral season. How? As it turns out, when our bodies maintain its ideal core temperature, our immune systems are more effective. Research has shown that we lose consider body heat through our heads and feet. You wouldn’t go outside with shoes, so consider covering your head with a warm hat when outside.


Get a pneumonia shot and a booster every five years. Bacterial pneumonia can be serious. High fever, coughing up yellow or green phylum and fatigue are often signs of pneumonia. Pneumonia can even cause lung collapse in serous cases. While getting bacterial pneumonia is not as common as a viral infection like the flu, there is a vaccine for the more common bacterium that causes pneumonia. Pneumonia can be deadly for children, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.


If you do find yourself sick with a cold or the flu, get plenty of rest, moderate your activities and eat according to how you feel. Drinking plenty of fluids is most important to stay hydrated. The old analogy of “starve a fever, feed a cold” is not always the best course to follow. Eat bland foods when hungry and don’t overdo it on the meals while sick and you’ll be following the proper course of self-treatment. A little chicken soup is always a good meal for those ailing.


Obviously, there are no guarantees that these tips will keep you completely healthy. However, they are tried and true methods of keeping your body healthy and revving up your immune system to combat those viruses waiting to ruin your week.