As we move into the colder months, people tend to get sick more often, particularly those living in areas where temperatures regularly drop below freezing. The common cold and other illnesses that are spread by airborne droplets are far more likely to be contracted during this time of year, so you’ll want to take steps to avoid getting sick this winter. Here are five ways you can keep yourself from getting sick this winter.
1) Stay hydrated
It might seem like common sense, but according to a 2013 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 60 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration has been linked to heart disease, kidney stones, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
So how much water should you be drinking? The CDC recommends that women consume about nine cups of total beverages each day (about two and a half quarts) and men about 13 cups (three and a half quarts). Plain old H2O is best; carbonated drinks or sugary juice can actually increase your risk of getting sick. If plain water isn’t doing it for you, try adding some fresh fruit to infuse your drink with vitamins and antioxidants. For example, oranges contain vitamin C and lemons contain vitamin B-6. Or add in a few slices of cucumber for its anti-inflammatory properties.
2) Clean your hands
It’s true that washing your hands thoroughly (and frequently) is one of the most important ways to avoid getting sick. Germs are transmitted through microscopic organisms that, once they get into your body, can make you sick. By keeping your hands clean, you’ll reduce or eliminate the risk of transmitting germs back and forth with others.
In fact, public health officials urge us all to wash our hands frequently—not just before eating or preparing food but also after using public restrooms, changing diapers, and handling animals. Do not touch your face: Germs can be spread easily from person to person by hand contact as well as by touching surfaces and then touching your face or mouth later on.
3) Getting enough sleep
Sleep is important. Most people don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is important. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could get sick and die of cancer. No one likes that. So if you want to avoid getting sick, make sure you get enough sleep.
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Here are five ways to help ensure your body gets adequate rest each night
1. Don’t use your phone before bed: Using electronics before bed can affect melatonin levels, which can have a significant impact on how well you sleep. It can also give you eye strain or disrupt natural circadian rhythms—so it’s best to leave your phone alone when it’s time for lights out. Use an old-fashioned alarm clock instead!
2. Make sure there aren’t any allergens in your bedroom: A recent study found that at least 75 percent of people with allergies or asthma experience symptoms in their bedrooms because they’re exposed to allergens like dust mites and pet dander at night. If you have a pet, try keeping it out of your room—or at least keep it on a different floor from where you sleep.
Also, be sure to clean regularly and use an air purifier if necessary. And while we’re on the subject, make sure you wash all bedding once a week in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) or more often if needed; change pillowcases weekly; vacuum rugs often; and keep windows closed when pollen counts are high.
3. Watch what you eat before bed: It’s best not to eat too close to bedtime, as eating too close can give you heartburn, which can lead to indigestion, which can cause trouble sleeping—and nobody wants that!
4. Don’t take naps during the day: We know, we know—naps are awesome. But taking a nap during daylight hours can actually disrupt your natural circadian rhythms and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
5. Meditate every day: Meditation has been shown to help improve overall health and well-being, so even if you don’t get enough sleep every night, meditating each day may help counteract some of those negative effects by reducing stress levels.
4) Winter Exercise regularly
The key thing you should do during winter is exercise regularly, three times a week. You should focus on cardio and incorporate weights into your routine. Exercise will help strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy. Try to stay away from crowded areas if possible as that could increase your chances of catching a bug.
Get Plenty of Sleep: Your body needs time to recover from stressors and sleep allows for that recovery time.
Keep Your Hands Clean: During cold weather, there are many more opportunities for germs like viruses and bacteria, so it’s important to wash your hands frequently using hot water and soap or hand sanitizer. Make sure you use proper hygiene when coughing or sneezing as well because that can spread germs quickly too!
5) Eat well
Most illnesses aren’t contagious, but they sure are annoying. An easy way to avoid them is simply by eating a healthy diet. What you eat has a direct impact on your immune system, so making smart food choices can keep you from getting sick in general.
Your immune system needs fuel and nutrients to function properly. To give your body what it needs, start every day with breakfast and make sure you get enough sleep each night too! Skipping meals makes all of us more vulnerable to illness; if we don’t have enough energy, our natural defenses weaken and our bodies become weaker overall. Also important? Keeping stress levels under control—psychological stress is shown to increase susceptibility to colds and other infections. By following these steps, you’ll be able to fight off sickness all winter long!
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Eat Well – Third Paragraph: But really…the most important tip here is just washing your hands regularly!
Good nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Skip sugary drinks, fast food, and junk food, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels that will leave you feeling fatigued and make you more susceptible to illness. Instead, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
These can help improve your immune function, not just by providing vitamins but also because they contain an anti-inflammatory component called quercetin. An easy way to increase your intake of quercetin is through onions; they are rich in it and there are few better ways to enjoy them than grilled on skewers with pieces of chicken or fish.
Eating well doesn’t have to be difficult! Make simple swaps at home like replacing white rice with brown rice, white bread with whole wheat bread, and canned soups with homemade soups. If you want to take it up a notch, try juicing fresh produce.
It’s quick and simple to do at home using a juicer (or even your blender) and it provides tons of nutrients without all of the calories found in fruit juice from concentrate. Juicing is also great if you want to cut down on processed foods while boosting your daily vegetable intake. Remember: The key here is balance—it’s important not to overdo any one thing when trying to avoid getting sick during the cold season as too much exercise or stress reduction can actually weaken your immune system.