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3 Surprising Ways to Protect Yourself from Germs

You might even be doing one of them right now!


During these pandemic times, we’re more conscientious of our health and cleanliness than ever before. It’s obvious that hand-washing, immunity boosters, and social distancing help stop the spread of the bacteria and viruses, but these surprising tricks take it to next level.

Touch Up Your Polish

Washing your hands for 20 seconds eliminates up to 92 percent of microbes — and you can wipe out even more germs by freshening up your nail polish every fourth day, finds Cleveland Clinic research. “Chipped nails can create niches for bacteria and other microbes to remain,” explains microbiologist Christopher Pappas, Ph.D. Indeed, scientists found that OR nurses who changed their lacquer with this specific frequency had significantly fewer microbes after thoroughly washing their hands. Tip: A Washington State University study found nails trimmed to two millimeters blocked the most germs.

Hum as You Do Errands

Simply shifting to breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth will reduce your risk of being infected by an airborne virus like COVID-19. Why? Breathing through the nose not only filters the air as it enters the body, it triggers the nasal passages to produce nitric oxide (NO) — an all-natural antiseptic. Concludes Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage: “Nitric oxide in the nasal airways could represent an important first line of defense against infection.”

What’s the best way to remember to do this? Hum a tune! Humming automatically shifts you into breathing in through your nose and the amazing virus killing power that comes with it!

Sip From a Wineglass

Fingers transfer nearly 80 percent of germs we come in contact with. One place they often land: on the rims of cups and glasses. That’s because many of us pick them up by the top. “Touching the rim of a glass with germ-covered hands provides a direct entry for microbes,” says Jill Grimes, M.D., a family physician at the University of Texas at Austin. The remedy: Sip all your beverages from a stemmed wineglass to avoid touching the rim.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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