How to keep healthy when people around you are sick

Wang Yip
6 min readFeb 12, 2020

Sometimes, there is no way around getting sick. One of my friends often says that once one of their kids get sick, everybody in the family gets sick as the illness is passed from the child to other siblings and then eventually to the parents. It’s inevitable because the family lives together, eats together and is generally in close proximity with one another.

Typically, I am a very healthy person. I have not kept an exact count over the years, but in general, I am sick less than five times a year, whether it is the flu or a cold. A lot of the times, when I get a scratchy throat or a runny nose, I have a regimen that I follow that helps me recover quickly so that the illness does not blow up into something really awful. I think this is also apt because of the scare of the corona virus. Here is what I do.

Wash hands with warm soapy water before and after meals

One of my friends has what I thought was a strange practice. He likes to wash his hands both before and after any meal. The more I thought about it and the recent corona virus scare, the more I realized that he was very much ahead of his time. We do not wash our hands often enough, and I can probably count how many times I have washed my hands both before and after a meal on my hand (which is really not enough).

Our hands touch a lot of things — door knobs, money, keyboards, elevator buttons and all of these things, while not particularly dirty, have also been touched by many others who may or may not be sick. Why take a chance? Washing your hands is a simple and easy way of preventing illness.

Using hand sanitizer

I’m going to tell you a very embarrassing story of how I took hand sanitizer too far. I was in a meeting room working away when one of my managers came in to introduce someone that had dropped by the office from another country. The only thing that I was thinking about was using hand sanitizer, which is provided in every meeting room. I got up, shook hands with the coworker and then I, without really thinking, pumped out some hand sanitizer to wipe off my hands. To that new coworker, it looks like I am deathly afraid of germs from them. I never met them again, but nowadays, I try to use hand…



Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at