January 16, 2014
The winter months inevitably arrive with coughing and sneezing. A sudden change of colder temperature means runny noses and sore throats. You may feel like there is nothing you can do to stop from catching these symptoms, but prevention is possible! Feel your best this winter with tips from some professionals on how to stay healthy during this cold season.
It’s easier to remember to consume H2O in the summer when you are sweating buckets and parched from thirst. The cold winter months are another story. Although you may be tempted to fill up on hot chocolate, sugar will just make your immune system weaker. RN Britney Wilson, also know as The Nerdy Nurse, passionately shares how water intake keeps you healthy.
Stay hydrated! Drink water, water, and more water. There are so many occasions where you might be tempted to drink empty calories or sugar and sodium packed beverages that may satiate a craving, but are not fulfilling your bodies desire for straight-up water.
Often, indoor heating in winter will dry you out and dehydrate you. Keep a large bottle of water with you during the day, and by your bed to make sure you continue to consume water throughout the night.
2) Sanitize, Sanitize
You may have been told the importance of washing your hands since you’ve known how to talk, but it’s easy to think it’s something we only have to do after using the restroom or before eating. In winter months, it’s especially important to keep germs from being spread. Nurse Kathy Quan, founder of The Nursing Site, tells us how to properly use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t an option.
Winter tends to be a very busy time with holidays and all as opposed to spring and summer where people tend to relax more and the mood is more laid back. In the hurry up mode, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. That starts with good hand washing habits. If you use hand sanitizers, understand that they are designed to air dry and during this air drying process the germs are killed. Don’t try to wipe it off, let it evaporate.
It’s convenient to carry around a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or even attached to your keychain. Make it a habit to use regularly throughout the day, especially when you’re in a public place like a grocery store. You never know who had their hands on that cart before you!
3) Get Your 40 Winks
We asked Leslie Block, a nurse of twenty-five years, and the editor of ER Nurses Care how to stay healthy during winter, and she emphasized the importance of rest and adequate sleep.
We all seem to be busy and forget that nutrition and getting enough sleep are simple things you can do to stay healthy. If you get run down, your body’s immune system is more prone to picking up the first thing that comes along.
A good night’s sleep will do wonders for your immune system. Listen to your body. Often you can tell when you’re coming down with something by your sudden fatigue. Take a nap!
4) Take Your Vitamins
There are many natural supplements you can take to help prevent catching that bug everyone you know has. RN and Nurse Coach, Keith Carlson shares his favorite.
In terms of staying healthy over the winter, I recommend drinking a lot of water, washing hands very frequently (especially when in public places like stores and gas stations), and getting enough rest. Zinc is very helpful, especially when you’ are sick or just coming down with something.
Vitamin C and Echinacea are also helpful and available in many different forms over-the-counter, including fruit flavored chews.
5) Be Good to Yourself
The bottom line is this: take good care of yourself! It is easy to keep going through your daily routine and ignore your body until symptoms come up, but prevention is the best way to have a healthy and productive winter. Follow these simple tips by staying hydrated, clean, well-rested and filled with good nutrition. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and stay active. You will not only survive cold and flu season, but thrive with more energy and life!