The leaves are turning, the days are becoming shorter, and the weather is getting crisper.
There are many things to love and enjoy with the changing seasons, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but getting sick is not one of them.
Many factors play a heavy role in the increased susceptibility and spread of viruses during the winter such as colder weather and more time spent indoors together. But, getting sick is not inevitable. There are many steps we can take to prevent ourselves from feeling under the weather:
1. Practice hygiene
Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Sanitize surfaces regularly.
There are many things you can or cannot do to prevent yourself from catching a cold, but nothing may be more effective than proper hygiene. 80% of colds are spread through direct or indirect by the action of sneezing, coughing, and breathing.
Tip: Buy a portable hand sanitizer and bring it with you wherever you go. Plus, wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially before eating. When washing, it is recommended to scrub your hands under hot water for 20 seconds.
2. Eat healthily
Taking an initiative to improve your nutrition is a major step in not only avoiding the flu but decreasing its duration. A nutritious diet, full of vegetables, fruit, and lean proteins is a sure hand approach to boost your immune system. Improving one’s diet is not always an easy step, we suggest using the various sources found on our Wellness page or through our Cornerstone Wellness Program.
3. Stay Active
When the weather becomes colder and the days shorter, it is very easy to stay stuck inside. Yet, it is more imperative than ever to stay active as it promotes your immune function and overall well-being. The goal is to aim for 30 minutes of activity a day, regardless of the weather.
Tip: Find what works best for you, even if it’s finding the time for living room workouts or walking around a mall.
4. Prioritize your rest
This may sound like a contradiction to the prior point, but it is far from it. Staying active and getting proper rest can go hand in hand. Sleep needs to be a priority during these winter months, as inadequate sleep can dramatically dampen your immune system. Aim to get a consistent 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. In addition, allow yourself to rest if you are feeling drained as it might be a sign that your body if fighting off a new or lingering infection.
Tip: Stay home. Whether it is from work, school, or any social gathering, sometimes rest is what your body needs most when feeling under the weather. It is in the best interest of yourself and others.
5. Get your flu shot.
It is never too early to get your flu shot as it is already October, signaling the beginning of flu season. The CDC states that it takes up to two weeks for your body to develop immunity to the flu after getting vaccinated, making it necessary to get the vaccination sooner. Last year was one of the worst flu seasons in the past decade, affecting more people for longer than any of the previous years.
6. Keep warm.
Allowing your body temperature to drop increases your chances of catching the flu or any other virus. Make sure to leave the house prepared, whether it is with a coat, beanie, or extra layers as you can never be too safe. Additionally, some hot tea or warm soup never sounded bad on a stormy day.
Tip: leave an extra coat or sweater in the office and car.
River Bend Medical Associates wants you to care of yourself this fall and winter.