How To Stay Away From Common Winter Health Problems
Your health is important all year long, but some health issues are more prevalent during the colder months. Follow these suggestions to avoid the most common winter ailments.
Colds and flu
According to the National Institutes of Health, dry winter air allows the flu virus to survive and transmit more easily. Be sure to get a flu shot to improve your chances of avoiding severe symptoms. The single best way to avoid getting sick is frequent hand washing. You’ve heard it many times before but wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse with lots of water to make sure germs go down the drain. Between washings, avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face.
Cracked, dry skin is one of the most common winter complaints. Skin is your body’s largest organ, and it needs protection from the dryer, colder air of winter. Drink plenty of water and apply skin cream generously. The best time to moisturize is after bathing while your skin is still damp. Keep lotion by the sink to remind you to moisturize your hands after you wash them during the day. When you go outside, cover exposed skin with gloves, hat and scarf, and limit the time you spend outside on windy, extremely cold days.
According to the American Heart Association, the number of heart attacks increases during the winter months. As temperatures decline, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood to your body. Add on physical exertion like shoveling snow or scraping car windows and the heart endures even more strain. The danger is higher for those who aren’t usually physically active or for people with an existing heart condition. When working or exercising in cold weather, be sure to take frequent breaks and get help if you experience chest pain, nausea or dizziness.
Low Vitamin D
Daylight hours are shorter in winter, so we have less opportunity to get the Vitamin D we need from the sun. Vitamin D is critical to maintaining healthy bones, so boost your intake of Vitamin D by adding more fish and fortified dairy products to your diet. You may need to consider adding a supplement to your daily routine. Your doctor can recommend an appropriate dosage for you.
The combination of shorter, darker days and fewer outdoor activities can lead just about anyone to feel out of sorts and sluggish. The change of seasons can also wreak havoc with your sleep patterns and your regular exercise routine. To beat the winter blues, make an effort to get natural sunlight during the day and get in touch with friends often to boost your mood. Adjust your schedule to get the sleep you need. A small percentage of people (4-6%) experience a more severe and long-lasting type of winter depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Contact us if you are concerned about feelings of depression. Our A Woman’s View team will talk to you about your needs and schedule an appointment with a professional from The Counseling Group or Kintegra Health, right in our office.