Are you looking forward to the holidays? Unfortunately, shorter days and colder nights can lead to some bad habits. Also, several health conditions are specifically associated with the winter season. In the United States, the flu season occurs in winter. The flu infects about 10 percent of the population each year.
Don’t let colds and flu worry you this winter. Here are six tips to help you stay healthy this cold season:
- Get Hydrated
The harsh winter temperature can wreak havoc on your body, forcing your lungs to work harder to humidify the air and warm it up. In general, it’s vital to stay hydrated. Simply remembering to drink more water can help you meet your daily fluid needs. Drink often, even if you are not thirsty.
Additionally, try warming up with a nice cup of hot green tea or take sports drinks with electrolytes. Avoid cold liquids because they are absorbed quickly. Similarly, caffeine and sodas can make your body extremely dehydrated in winter.
2. Get Better Sleep
Many of the costs of poor sleep go unnoticed. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of weight gain and obesity. On average, adults should optimally receive at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Younger children have even greater sleep needs.
Start with creating a relaxing bedtime routine. It’s also essential to get enough sleep on a regular schedule so that you have better mental functioning. If you do wake up at night, avoid looking at the clock. Also, try to wake up at the same time every day. Finally, minimize the light, noise, and temperature in the bedroom.
3. Stay Warm
No matter where you live, keeping warm is a health necessity. Dress in layers and wear a hat, pants, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, wool dresses, and one or two blankets. Also, wear gloves with a fleece or wool liner to keep your hands warm. Next, check the thermostat, timer, and backup power supply for your heating system.
Alternatively, you can trick the thermostat into increasing the temperature by putting ice on top of it. You’ll feel even cozier if you keep the temperature above 18 degrees in your bedroom. This additional heat production can help increase your body temperature, creating a warming effect.
4. Get a Flu shot
Influenza is a potentially severe disease that causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year. Getting an influenza vaccine is the best way to reduce your sick days. The CDC recommends the use of injectable influenza vaccines. You can get a flu vaccine even if you don’t have a regular doctor.
The flu vaccine also allows the development of community immunity. Flu season typically runs from October to April. Therefore, an October vaccination generally means a person would be safe by the time winter sets in. However, you may need to be tested for a severe allergic reaction before being immunized.
5. Eat Healthily
The key to staying healthy in winter is to replace processed food with real food. Processed junk food is incredibly unhealthy. Healthy home cooking and smart shopping allow you to buy healthier items and save money.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Even if the nearest grocery is hours away, don’t switch back to a package of Oreos. Instead, try blackberries and dark greens like spinach and kale.
Add rice, pasta, or noodles to serves of protein for a balanced meal. The more colourful you make your plate, the easier it will be to avoid too much of certain ingredients. Avoid fruit juice, even when it is 100% fruit juice, and foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
6. Go Outdoors During the Day
Winter can be extremely chilly, but spending time outside is good for you. Spending time outside might have some health benefits. It can help improve your physical and mental health. Bloodstream levels of the stress hormone cortisol can go down after a walk in the backyard. Additionally, scientists think that natural scents like roses make you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Spending time in nature can also boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. These benefits are equally important for children. In addition to decreasing stress levels, going outdoors may increase children’s concentration skills.
Although other factors probably come into play, there’s no doubt that the flu thrives in the cold. Use these tips to keep yourself safe during the next winter months.