The Immune System's Job: Detect and Destroy
The immune system is designed to detect and destroy foreign invaders inside the body like bacteria and viruses. When working optimally, the immune system can prevent sickness when we’re exposed to germs. Several factors like sleep, diet, stress and hygiene can affect the immune system’s performance, and any offsets in these behaviors can cause havoc on immune function. Often times the impact of these factors go unnoticed, but if you tend to get sick after a big project at work or during finals at school, it’s likely because your immune system has suffered due to stress, lack of sleep, binge eating or unhygienic behaviors.
1. Hand Washing
People tend to overestimate their hygiene. Studies show that only 67% of people wash their hands after using a public restroom, vs. 85% who report washing their hands after public restroom use. 1,2 And even if you do wash your hands, you may not be doing it correctly: Centers for Disease Control recommends 15 seconds of scrubbing your hands with soap, or humming the “Happy Birthday” song TWO TIMES! 1 You should try it - it feels like an eternity when you’re standing in front of a mirror in a public restroom, next to a stranger that you might be trying to avoid talking to.