i love this community; i always get such good advice! i know it's still quite hot out, and nobody's thinking about winter illness yet, but as i've already got my first cold of the season (i student teach preschool; it comes with the territory) i thought it was a good time to share the tips i've gathered over my years in the classroom for avoiding common illnesses that make us miss work and spend money we don't have on medicine: when you cough or sneeze, try to do so into a tissue or the UPPER part of your sleeve. any germs that wind up on your hand will also wind up anyplace your hand touches. your forearm also touches more places than most people think. if you can't react fast enough, sneezing/coughing on your hand is better than doing so into the air; just be sure to wash your hands after if you can afford it, invest in Purell-like products in bulk. around here you can get a 2 oz (purse or pocket size) bottle of target brand knockoff purell for $.70, or a 12 oz bottle for under $1.50 - these disinfect just as well as soap and water, but don't dry out your skin and lead to annoying cuts and tears. they're also handy for when there's not a bathroom around wash/purell your hands every time you cough or sneeze, before any time you eat or put something in your mouth/near your eyes, every time you have been around sick people or children, and every time you've been in a bathroom, even if you didn't use it. make a concious effort to avoid touching your face GET ENOUGH SLEEP. i can't stress that enough - sleeping does wonders for the immune system. even if it means napping on your lunch break, or going to bed at 9 pm, aim for an average of 8 hours sleep. just because you can think clearly and feel okay doesn't mean your body's running at its best eat as healthy as you can. fruits and veggies are very good for the immune system, and are generally cheaper from local farmers or farmer's markets than the grocery store. foods rich in complex carbs and fiber are also good for keeping the body running at its most efficient. find a way to cope with stress. you'll never get rid of all your stress, but if you find ways of coping (i like yoga personally, but you'll have to find something that works for you) it'll keep you from exhausting your body and killing your immune system sleep sleep sleep. if you're sick, even 8 hours a night may not be enough. the body heals much faster and more effectively during sleep than during waking hours. try to get extra vitamin c and zinc in your diet; these vitamins really do help drink lots and lots and lots of water. this is a good idea all of the time, but it especially helps the immune system (and all systems) when you're sick. if you have a fever, this goes double. if you have gi trouble, don't push yourself with food. avoid meat and dairy until your stomach is calmer. many swear by the BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast rather than buying expensive decongestants, drink lots of hot drinks, eat lots of spicy food, and eat/breathe in the fumes of anything with a lot of peppemint or menthol in it. avoid cigarettes and alcohol (duh) honey, hot drinks, and/or popsicles work wonders on a sore throat. honey also soothes coughing feel free to add any other advice you have!