On May 6 – National Nurses Day – we celebrate people with some of the most thankless jobs. Nurses take care of us when we're sick and incapable of taking care of ourselves, whether it's at the doctor's office, hospital or at home. While you should take this day to say "thank you" to any nurse you know, most of us would probably rather just avoid seeing them altogether! Follow these tips to stay healthy so you won't need to visit your medical provider.

Wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites cleaning hands as one of the best ways to keep germs at bay. Washing your hands helps prevent the spread of illness to yourself and others and helps in the fight against antibiotic-resistant germs.

Don't touch your face. In between hand washings, remember to keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. This makes it harder for germs, such as a cold or the flu, to enter your body through these openings.

Get plenty of sleep. While you're sleeping, your brain and body are repairing and preparing for the next day.  Without enough good-quality sleep, you have more trouble making decisions, solving problems and handling change. Your body also has a harder time fighting off obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Eat a balanced diet. Your mind and body both need nutrients from your food to function properly and fight off infections and diseases. Most of your meals should consist of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and heart-healthy fats. You don't have to cut out your favorite junk food, sweets and alcohol, just limit them.

Exercise regularly.  Working up a sweat for 30 minutes a day helps you in numerous and significant ways. Exercise helps you maintain weight, works your muscles to avoid aches and pains, gives you energy and a better mood, and wards off conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Take safety precautions. Actions such as wearing a seat belt in the car and a helmet on your bike keep you safer from physical harm. Other measures include following safety rules in the workplace and during adventurous activities. These can prevent bumps, bruises and broken bones as well as more serious injuries.

Manage stress. Finding ways to reduce stress – or better react to stressful situations – is important for your mental and physical health. Too much stress can lead to a weaker immune system, headaches, digestive and muscular problems, anxiety and depression. In addition to a good diet, exercise and sleep, be sure to spend time with family and friends, get involved with your community, and try meditation.

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