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Smoking, not exercising, eating junk food; we all know that some things are health hazards. But with scientists making new discoveries daily, it’s hard to know for sure if our everyday habits are really that bad. Here, the experts help us sort the minor misdemeanours from the major mistakes.
You forget to floss: Real health hazard
Not flossing teeth regularly will probably lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath, says Dr Peter Alldritt, from the Australian Dental Association.
“We know only 30 per cent of people floss daily and some stop flossing because it causes bleeding,” he says.
“If you don’t floss for a week your gums will bleed because you will have started to develop gingivitis (inflamed gums).” To see what’s lurking between your unflossed teeth, Dr Alldritt suggests using a piece of dental floss, having a look at what you pull out and then sniffing it.
You have lunch at your desk: Not a deadly sin but…
Did you know one sneeze somewhere crowded like a railway station escalator could infect up to 150 people in as little as five minutes via people breathing in the droplets or touching those that land on the handrail. However, for that bug to then turn into sneezes, sniffles and misery it has to (a) enter your body and (b) get past your immune system unscathed. Some women never get sick so what can you do to be like them?
Keep Your Nose Warm
Dr Ron Eccles from the UK’s Cardiff University is one of the world’s most eminent cold researchers. He points out a new theory as to why we catch more colds in winter, “Our nose is colder then, and that cooling of the nose lowers resistance to infection.” So, if it’s really chilly, place a scarf over your nose to keep it warm.
Try not to lie
Feeling guilty has been shown to lower your immune defences but, also, the body language a person uses when lying can increase their chance of spreading germs. “The average person tells four lies a day. One of the major giveaways is that the person touches their nose, face and eyes, which during flu season increases the chances of you passing the bug into your system,” says TV doctor Dr Andrew Rochford. A clever tip? Painting your fingernails red may keep your hands away from your face as it helps you spot when your fingers are getting near your face.
Boost Your Vitamin D
According to research from Greenwich Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine in the US, you’re twice as likely to come down with a cold if you’re exposed to the bugs when levels of vitamin D in your blood are low. If you live in Australia’s south, the Cancer Council suggests boosting your vitamin-D by getting the sun on your face, hands and arms two to three hours a week. If you suspect you’re still deficient, ask your doctor to test you in case you need a supplement.