Did you know that it’s easier to get sick while you’re pregnant?! It’s true! Your body is incredible and it does amazing things. It knows when an organ is replaced, it knows when it’s under attack, it knows how to develop a little human and so much more, and it reacts accordingly in each situation. Well, when the body notices something foreign in it, it’s natural reaction is to get rid of it, EXCEPT when it’s a baby. Your body recognizes that the baby is foreign to you, but also that it’s temporarily a part of you. How cool! So to compensate for what your body naturally does (attack foreign objects), it lowers your immune system while pregnant so that the baby is able to grow safely. Unfortunately, that means you’re more likely to get sick. And in the cooler months, it’s even more likely! Here are some tips on how to avoid getting sick this winter.
#1 Wash your hands, often! Everyone says this and it can’t be said enough. It is the first in how to not get sick and minimize transferring germs. It’s smart to keep hand wipes or sanitizer in your car too, for when you touch grocery carts, doors and everything else while you’re out. Wash them when you get home, and have the kids do it too! Think about what your hands touch in a day; then think about eating with those hands, which brings me to #2.
#2 Limit your hand to mouth contact. Switch from a tub lip balm to a stick, use your arm to cover a cough, do what you can.
#3 Use Lysol wipes (or disinfectant wipes) DAILY to wipe what your hands touch: door knobs, sink handles, light switches, toilet handles, keyboards, remotes, steering wheels, etc. You want to make sure you’re disinfecting these often to prevent getting sick! It’s scary when you imagine all of the nasty germs on those surfaces.
#4 Lysol Spray. Mist it into the air every few hours (or when you hear someone cough or sneeze). It’s better to get a scented spray so the smell isn’t so offensive. Quick testimony – My mother had an assisted-living facility for the elderly (elderly also have declined immunity) for 18 years. In that time, in snowy Colorado, with multiple clients and plenty of traffic from their visiting families, NOT A SINGLE PERSON GOT SICK. THAT is flippin’ impressive. And guess what she did all the time: tips 1 and 2 and she sprayed Lysol like everyone’s life depended on it!
#5 Limit added sugar! What does sugar do to the immune system? Sugar suppresses the immune system by weakening the cells that attack bacteria. No good! “The easiest way to keep added sugar intake low is to choose minimally processed whole foods.”
#6 Take a daily vitamin, not an immunity booster. There are many products advertising to be immunity boosters, but the concept doesn’t scientifically exist. You can read about it in this article from Harvard Health Publishing. When you take a multivitamin you’re getting micro nutrients that you’re likely deficient in due to our processed foods diet. The best way to get these micro nutrients is from food, and that means lots of fruits and vegetable and meats. But if you’re not willing to overhaul your diet tonight, just get a multivitamin.
That’s it! None of these tips guarantee that you’ll avoid getting the flu or sick at all, but they do significantly reduce the odds. If you can’t do them all, do three, and if you can’t do that, do one. Choose whichever is easiest for you, that doesn’t interrupt your routine, because that’s the one that’s likely to stick!