5 important winter healthcare tips
As most people are already aware, flu season hits its peak around winter time. However, as the New York Times explained, there's still great mystery around why winter is such a hotbed for influenza. There are several leading causes, namely those to do with less vitamin D from minimal sunlight exposure and a generally lower immune response. Regardless of the reason, this just highlights the importance of proper personal health during the winter months. To safeguard you and yours, just follow these five handy tips:
- Cut out sugar
Between Christmas and other family gatherings, the urge to snack through the entire season can sometimes be too great to resist. However, as Health magazine explained, it's important to avoid some of these sugary foods to help control your blood pressure. Instead of indulging in sweet treats, try a winter diet that consists of carbohydrates - like those found in vegetables - proteins, vitamin B and fiber-rich whole grains. These aren't only good for you, but many contain the mood booster serotonin.
"It's important to keep exercising throughout the winter season."
- Maintain exercise regimens
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you have to give up your regular exercise regimen. Why not embrace the season and pick up a winter sport, like snowshoeing and curling? If you want to avoid those 40-and-below temperatures, you can even stay inside and practice yoga, tai chi and other stretching-centered exercises. Or, you can come up with some other exercises in your home. The aim is to keep up the momentum through winter and stay as active as possible.
- Avoid the flu
Every winter, you should consider getting a flu shot. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that includes young kids, adults and those age 65 and older. Aside from this booster, there are some steps you can take to avoid the flu entirely. These include proper hygiene - like washing your hands frequently - making sure to dress in layers, practicing proper hydration (aim for at least half a gallon each day), getting enough sleep every night and taking herbal supplements like echinacea.
- Protect your skin
Though most people assume skin health is mostly a concern for summer, the truth might surprise you. As Prevention magazine explained, your skin is just as vulnerable to ultraviolet A and B in the wintertime. UVA light, which is the form most often tied to cancer, can make its way through windows; if you're stuck inside all day, your risk remains the same regardless of the season. That's why it's so important to wear sunscreen when you go out and maintain other skin care protocol.
- Winterize your life
In the winter, you need to expand your focus not just on your personal health but that of your house. As the CDC explained, there are some injuries more common in the winter, and you must take steps to prepare. For instance, be sure to lay down some sand on icy walkways. The rest of your home also needs to be winterized, including repairing any cracks, installing proper insulation and getting your heating system checked by a professional. You should also keep an emergency kit around, preferably one that contains food and water, first aid supplies, blankets, flashlight and batteries, and lamps.