You know when people say "knock on wood" or "now that I said that won't happen, it will" or other similar statements? I'm sure you have said them too. We all do. I'm not a fan and have made a conscious attempt at keeping them out of my mind.
What does this have to do with avoiding getting sick? I'm getting to that, just stick with me.
People say "I haven't been sick this year, knock on wood." Like it's basically all luck and there's some strange ghost who can do what he wants to us at any time if we "jinx" ourselves. I find this to be a bunch of bs.
Is getting sick inevitable each year? I don't think it is. Do I have the answer to prevent it 100% of the time every sick season? No, but I do have some tips to help you avoid knocking on wood/catching "what's going around"...
1- Sleep. No rocket surgery here. Get yourself a good amount of rest. For most adults this will be 7-9 hours a night. Seriously, DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS. You are not special. You will reduce the power of your immune system the longer you go with a sleep deficit.
2- Stress. Reduce it. Everyone is a bit different here. How much for you, only you can know. Each of us is different too in what stresses us out. One person can work in the emergency room under intense "stressful" conditions and show no signs of stress, while someone else would freak out and be shaking into a nervous breakdown. Be mindful of your stress. How often do you relax? Do you take time to breathe deep? Are you rushing around all day and the only down time you get is plopped on the couch watching fast-paced images on a screen (not exactly stress-reducing)
3- Diet. Cut out the refined foods. Fried foods, simple carbs, sugars etc.. Drink plenty of water. Eat all kinds of vegetables and fruits. Try different spices and herbs.
4- Vitamins- I like taking a few vitamins that I feel help with keeping my immune system strong and keeps those "it's going around" bugs away. A greens supplement is a good choice. Athletic Greens is the one I use and it has a strong profile of green veggies, vitamins,minerals, digestive aids.
Vitamin C/ Zinc/Vitamin D/Fish oil.
(there are studies on every supplement/vitamin/mineral that will say they are beneficial and there are studies that will say they aren't so much) Just like everything else, make up your own mind on it. What feels right to you deep down? What makes sense? Then try for yourself and find out. Ask your doctor if that makes you feel better. Then figure it out for yourself.
These are the tips that work for me and many clients I've worked with. I've done a ton of research on vitamins/minerals/macronutrients/anti-oxidants etc.. and I also put what I read into action.
You can read all you want, this study, that study, but until you take action, it's all just words.