Do you want to make sure you and your family don’t get sick this winter? It’s no fun being sick over the holidays. Come see these 10 ways to stay healthy in winter!
Since everyone spends lots more time inside because it’s cold during winter, we have lots more chances of being exposed to germs. Kids are inside more at school because of rainy day schedule. We all go to the mall more to shop for the holidays and for a warm place to hang out. So, we need to find ways to stay healthy in winter.
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By the way, I found several of these ways to stay healthy in winter tips from the Family Circle December 2017 magazine.
1. Make sure you make time for exercising.
Try to get 20 to 45 minutes of exercise every week. The best is aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping. David C. Nieman, DrPH from Appalachian State University says, “Research has shown that exercise can knock down sick days by 40% to 50%. Activities such as a brisk walk stimulate ‘special ops’ immune cells, which circulate throughout the body to fight off disease-causing organisms.”
40 to 50% is huge! That’s definitely worth going on a walk to give yourself that much help fighting off illness.
Related Post: How Just 30 Minutes a Day Can Help Your Heart
2. Make sure you get enough sleep.
It’s incredible what not getting enough sleep can do to up your risk of getting sick!
If you sleep less than 7 hours a night, you are 3 times as likely to catch a cold!
If you sleep less than 5 hours a night, now you’re 4.5 times more likely to get sick!
Timothy Morgenthaler, MD from the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic says, “Sleep enhances the immune defenses by positively affecting the white blood cell counts and antibodies that fight off infections.” So, he suggests the we need to make sleep a priority!
3. Make sure you wash your hands enough.
You need to wash your hands for 15 seconds or more to make sure you’ve killed all the bacteria. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., PhD, professor at NYU School of Medicine says, “Cold viruses can survive on surfaces for up to two days, and bacteria can live a week or so.” I know this is true because in my Microbiology class at school, we tested various things around the school to see what kind of germs were around. It was amazing how many we found!
So, if you touch something that’s contaminated, and then touch your face, you’re very likely to get sick! So, washing your hands can prevent that.
If you use a paper towel when you turn on the faucet or touch the door handle in public bathrooms, that will help. If you notice, most public bathrooms have a trashcan right by the door now. They know lots of people are using a paper towel to open the door and need somewhere to throw it away.
If you don’t happen to be near soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer instead. Always keep some in your purse for those moments when you need it. It’s good for the kids to have one in/on their lunchbox or backpack too! That way they can clean up before eating snack or lunch.
This is definitely something I make sure I do. I’m such a huge germaphobe, so I’m always washing my hands. So, these are some of my favorite ways to stay healthy in winter!
4. Spend time with your friends.
If you’re always stressed out and never have any down-time, you’re more likely to get sick. Having a fun night out with your friends can help you de-stress.
Sheldon Cohen, PhD, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University says, “Not everyone under stress who’s exposed to a virus gets sick. But we do know that is makes you less able to fight off viruses effectively.”
So, here’s your excuse to hand out with your friends. You need to do it for your health!
5. Get your flu shot.
You might think it’s too late to get it since flu season is already started, but it’s not. October is the best time to get the shot, before the season starts. However, it’s still okay to get your flu shot in December.
William Schaffner, MD, professor of medicine and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine says, “Flu often doesn’t peak until February. However, the shot needs to be in your system for about two weeks to build your immunity.”
Some places even offer incentives for getting one. CVS has a coupon for $5 off $25 that you get once you’ve had your shot.
So, go out and get your flu shot!Do you want to make sure you and your family don't get sick this winter? Come see these 10 ways to stay healthy in winter! #healthy #winterClick To Tweet
6. Make sure you clean everything.
If people around you are sick, you need to clean!
Philip M. Tierno Jr. PhD, who I mentioned before, says that, “Many infections are picked up from surfaces such as doorknobs and shopping carts.” That’s why they have those wipes available next to the shopping carts at grocery stores.
If you want to reduce your chances of getting sick at home or work, make sure you clean things used by people every day. Some things to clean are the bathroom surfaces, appliance handles, computer keyboard, light switches, doorknobs, and phones.
Tierno says you should use a cleaning spray or wipe that’s labeled as a “disinfectant.”
When I used to work, I was the back-up to the receptionist. If she or I was sick, we would clean the phones, keyboard, and mouse before the next person took over. That always kept us from catching what the other one had.
At my house, when the kids are sick, I run around like a crazy lady with the container of wipes, wiping down everything the sick child could’ve touched. I don’t want the rest of the kids or my husband or I to get sick. As you can tell, this is another one of my favorite ways to stay healthy in winter.
7. Don’t share things with others.
This sounds like the opposite of what we’ve been taught, and even the opposite of what my blog is all about, but you’ll see what I mean.
If your friend offers you a sip of their soda, or to try what they’re having for lunch, politely decline. You don’t want to share food or drinks with someone, especially if they’re sick. Since a person can be contagious even before they realize they’re sick, you’re better off not sharing all the time.
Also, it’s best to avoid sharing towels, and use a disposable one if it’s available. Lots of offices have cups and silverware available for everyone, but who knows how well someone else washes them. It’s best to just bring your own and keep them in your desk or bring them back and forth every day. That way you know they’re getting washed properly and there’s no chance to get sick from someone else’s germs.
8. If someone is sick, have them use a paper towel.
When anyone in my house gets sick, they have to use a paper towel to touch anything.
After cleaning everything the sick person touched, you certainly don’t want to have to follow them around with a cleaner or wipes all day! So, the easiest thing to do is just have them use a paper towel.
They can use the paper towel to operate the remote, light switches, faucet, etc. That way no one else gets sick and the sick person still gets to do things rather than be confined to their room.
This is one of the best ways to stay healthy in winter that we do in our house. It saved me lots of money from wasting so many wipes!
9. Make sure you drink enough water.
According to an article from Parents Magazine, it’s important to still drink water in the winter even if you’re not as thirsty.
“Allowing your body to become dehydrated can leave you more vulnerable to getting sick,” says Wendy Wells, N.M.D., a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Arizona. Water helps the body carry nutrients to cells and get rid of toxins. Without enough water, you start dragging. Dr. Wells recommends drinking half your weight in ounces every day.
Always have a water bottle around wherever you are, so you’re sure to drink enough every day. If it’s right next to you, you’ll be more likely to remember to drink it.
10. Take care of your skin.
That same article, reminds us to keep our skin moisturized.
Winter is harsh on skin. To keep it healthy, dermatologist Brooke Jackson, M.D., founder of Skin Wellness Center of Chicago, suggests increasing the humidity in your home by adjusting the gauge on your furnace or placing a humidifier in each bedroom. Aim for a humidity level between 40 and 50 percent.
She also says you should remember to moisturize “after a brief shower (long ones dry you out more) using jarred, not pump, moisturizers. (Pump lotions contain more water.) And don’t skip the sunscreen—winter sun can glare, especially off snow.” (Parents Magazine) This is one of the ways to stay healthy in winter that I struggle with the most. My hands are always dry!
It’s great to know there are so many ways to stay healthy in winter. However, I do want to say that I realize in spite of all of these measures, sometimes you do still get sick. Your child is sick and still needs to be loved. The person in front of you at the grocery store just coughed or sneezed and didn’t cover their mouth. Things happen, but if we do these preventative measures, we will get sick far less. (To be honest, I actually have a cold as I write this. Although, I’m pretty sure it’s my only cold I’ve had all year.)
Do you have any other suggestions on ways to stay healthy in winter? I’d love it if you leave a comment and let us know.
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