Seven Proven Secrets to Staying Healthy When You’re Surrounded by Illness

Saturday, January 21, 2023

When everyone around you is under the weather, staying healthy requires some extra effort.

Upper respiratory infections like colds and flu are more common in the winter months when we’re all staying indoors and can easily transmit viruses. When your family, friends, and coworkers are falling ill, how can you avoid getting sick?

Here are seven smart strategies for staying healthy when everyone around you is sick.

1. Keep your hands clean.

Good hand hygiene is crucial to staving off germs. Be diligent and frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Don’t forget to scrub under your nails and between your fingers. Always wash your hands before cooking and eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and using the restroom. For an added dose of protection, apply a dollop of quality hand sanitizer after washing and drying your hands.

2. Don’t touch your face. 

Most upper respiratory infection viruses are spread through mucous membranes in the eyes and nose. Use tissues to wipe your nose, rub your eyes, and adjust your glasses.

3. Catch some Zs.

A lack of sleep compromises the immune system, making us more susceptible to contracting viruses. Most people need an average of seven hours of sleep per night so try to establish a regular bedtime schedule and stick to it. Turn off electronic devices well before hitting the hay to ensure quality slumber.

4. Practice the vampire cough.

While people may be tempted to cough into their hands, it can spread sickness faster. Coughing and sneezing into the bend of your elbow — otherwise known as the “vampire cough” — helps reduce the risk of transmission.

5. Clean shared items regularly.

Viruses can remain alive for up to 24 hours on certain surfaces, so thoroughly cleanse objects that are frequently touched by others in your household, such as:

  • Tables and desks
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Faucets and toilet handles
  • Doorknobs
  • Car door handles and steering wheels
  • Digital equipment such as keyboard and remote controls

6. Eat your vitamins.

Consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will ensure you’re getting a balanced diet that’s chock full of essential vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits provide mega doses of vitamin C, which is helpful in treating respiratory ailments. Orange-hued vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which helps mucous membranes function properly. Pop a daily multivitamin for an added boost.

7. Create a “sick space.”

As much as possible, try to keep germs contained in one room or area of your home. Whether it’s the guest room, family room, or spot in the basement, make it a comfortable haven and let whoever is sick sleep there. Give each person their own glass, washcloth, and towel. Stock the space with tissues, hand sanitizer, bottled water, and masks.

Staying healthy amid the cold and flu season gets easier when you have the right information. If you have questions or need additional resources about how to avoid winter illnesses, we are here to help. Please contact us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

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