Winter Health Tips

Women and child having winter fun

Stay Healthy This Winter

Winter brings shorter days, colder temperatures and many health issues afflicting those of all ages. Add to these seasonal woes the lingering effects of COVID and its emergent variant strains plus annual increased hospitalizations occurring during winter, making it more important than ever to be vigilant and safeguard personal health.

Give yourself the gift of good health this winter and holiday season. Your local Capital Women’s Care team of women’s health professionals shares vital information on what you can do to avoid winter illness, including how to protect your health when outdoor temperatures plummet.

12 Tips for a Healthy Winter

Your immune system cleanses your body and gets rid of metabolic waste, bacteria, viruses, toxins and other potentially harmful elements. It prevents infections and is essential in blocking and healing cancer. You may not notice when you have a strong immune system; however, when it's weakened, symptoms like fever and fatigue often occur.

Maintaining your health amidst increased wintertime illness threats begins with important steps to boost your immune system so it can fight germs:

  • Keep up to date on all immunizations and vaccines. Certain populations, including older adults, pregnant women, infants and children under age 18 years plus adults with diagnosed chronic illnesses are more at risk for winter health issues that can quickly escalate. Compromised or immature immune systems make it harder for the body to fight sickness and germs.

    It’s important for all, especially those within compromised populations, to maintain immunization schedules for flu, pneumonia, COVID-19 and other illnesses per their practitioner’s recommendations and guidelines to develop important antibodies.

    Pregnant women are especially susceptible to developing serious symptoms with respiratory illnesses like flu and pneumonia that affect their health and that of their babies. Women who are pregnant and get recommended vaccines and immunizations also protect their unborn babies’ health. Many immunizations and vaccines have specific age guidelines for infant dosage. When pregnant women get practitioner-recommended vaccines, important antibodies are passed to their babies, protecting babies’ health until they can receive vaccines and immunizations.

    For current information concerning COVID-19 guidelines, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) webpage.

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is especially important during hot and cold weather. Drinking water flushes toxins and germs from your body so they don’t have a chance to linger and cause illnesses.

  • Wash hands regularly. Good hygiene safeguards against illness. Be sure to wash hands with antibacterial soap before eating, during meal and food preparation, after using the bathroom or blowing your nose and upon entering your home. Wipe down high traffic surfaces at home and at work regularly with antibacterial cleaners. If hot water and soap aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with a high alcohol content. Teach youngsters this important habit to instill good hygiene early on.

  • Maintain distance. When out in public, maintain distance from others to avoid catching airborne germs. Handshakes and kisses can also spread germs easily so exercise caution during holiday gatherings and social events to avoid illnesses. If you’re not feeling well, isolate yourself from others until you feel better. If fever is present, avoid contact with others until at least 24 hours after it passes so you don’t spread infectious germs. Contact your doctor if symptoms linger for 10 days without relief.

  • Get enough sleep every night. Those who are sleep deprived become run down, due to weakened immune systems that are more susceptible to infiltrating viruses and germs. Adults require about 8 hours every night, with babies and kids needing even more slumber time. Designate times for both rising and retiring and devise soothing nightly rituals to aid your relaxation process so you get regular quality sleep.

  • Eat healthy foods. A nutritious diet rich in whole fruits/vegetable/grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fiber and key nutrients (like vitamin C) is a powerful tool to boost immune system health and function. Opt to include a variety of healthy, colorful food selections for meals and snacks to satisfy your family’s hunger and boost their immune systems.

  • Get daily physical activity and exercise. Moving your body not only benefits your muscles and mind but it also strengthens your immune system. Whether you go to the gym for Zumba, swim laps in the pool or do a virtual cycling class, getting exercise helps avoid illnesses. Strive for 150 minutes of activity weekly. Incorporate strength conditioning twice weekly to optimize bone health and ward off osteoporosis. Doctors also encourage outdoor physical activity even during colder months to help keep germs at bay.

  • Manage diagnosed conditions properly. Following your practitioner’s recommendations for diagnosed chronic conditions is crucial. Take medications and follow lifestyle guidelines exactly as prescribed to maintain your health during a time when infectious germs and illnesses have greater chance of spreading to others.

  • Minimize your daily stress levels. Studies link high stress levels to increased colds and flu susceptibility. Try to minimize your daily stress levels by working reasonable hours and carving out time to rest and relax. Practice mindfulness and controlled breathing techniques to soothe frayed nerves and instill feelings of peaceful calm. Renew your interest in a hobby or craft you enjoy or seek out a new one that sparks your interest. Enjoy game nights with friends and family to while away cold winter evenings. Managing responsibilities and enjoyable pursuits provides a healthy balance that’s good for maintaining good health.

  • Investigate your vitamin D level. Research links lower levels of vitamin D with an increased risk for colds and flu during winter months and developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) since most Vitamin D is mostly obtained naturally through sunshine. Vitamin D supplements are not for everyone; however, if you are over age 50 years, you may want to ask your practitioner to test your vitamin D level via simple blood test to see if you need a supplement during winter months.

  • Dress for the weather. Wear layers of clothing during cold winter months to best maintain your body’s core temperature, minimize joint pain associated with arthritis and avoid frostbite. Additionally, wear hats and gloves to retain body heat plus boots or shoes specifically designed for ice and snow to help you avoid slips and falls.

  • Monitor for carbon monoxide. Whether you enjoy using an indoor fireplace or like to warm up your car on cold, frosty mornings, be aware of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel.

    Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when the gas builds up within the bloodstream. About 50,000 people within the U.S. are treated for carbon monoxide poison annually, with 400 fatalities occurring each year.

    Service, repair and properly vent heaters, heat-driven appliances and fireplaces (including chimneys and flues) each year, install carbon monoxide detectors within your home and garage plus fully open garage doors before starting any vehicle engines (including snow and leaf blowers plus lawn equipment) to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

By initiating and continuing these basic health practices beyond cold winter months, you can help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer, in addition to boosting your immune system’s strength and resilience throughout the year.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of women’s health professionals, specialists, nurses and support staff is here to address your concerns and answer your questions about avoiding winter illnesses and women’s health issues. Our goal is to provide you with unparalleled, comprehensive and personalized health care so you enjoy a quality long life.

Sources:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/top-6-winter-health-hazards-and-how-t...
https://magazine.medlineplus.gov/article/cold-weather-wellness-tips-for-...
https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/winterweather/index.html
https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-healt...
https://www.premiermedicalhv.com/news/7-steps-to-a-healthy-winter-season/
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-practic...
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-healthy...
https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-how-to-...
https://aanmc.org/featured-articles/nine-tips-stay-healthy-winter/

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The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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