Ah, winter. Cuddling up by the fireplace. Drinking soothing hot chocolate. Laughing with friends and family over your favorite movie. Watching the snowflakes fall while cooking your favorite comfort foods. Even the thought of wintertime can warm your heart and bring music to your ears.
The last sound you want to hear, however, is ah-choo! Staying healthy during the winter season is the first step to ensuring that you can enjoy all that winter has to offer.
1. Wash your hands frequently.
Lucky for us, the most well-known method of staying healthy during the winter season is still one of the best ways: washing your hands with soap and water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, germs can get on your hands from a variety of sources. Washing them often will rid your hands of the germs and help you protect yourself from respiratory infections and viruses.
2. Sanitize your surroundings.
In addition to washing your hands, if you know people around you are under the weather, wiping down surfaces will help kill the germs.
3. Bundle up.
Staying healthy during the winter season is about more than avoiding a cold or flu. It’s also about protecting your body. When you’re outdoors, be sure to bundle up. Wear a coat, put on a hat, pull on those boots, and use a scarf to protect your face. Although they are often taken for granted, those gloves are extremely important when it comes to protecting your fingers from frostbite, and they hold in heat in general to keep your body warmer.
4. Get a flu shot.
Flu season seems to come around every day. Flu strains are constantly adapting to medical safeguards, so getting vaccinated with the proper flu vaccine can greatly increase a senior’s ability to fight off or recover from the flu. Safeguarding against the flu is especially important for those who have recently been hospitalized or are on medications that weaken the body’s immune system.
5. Stay active.
Staying active will help promote bone and muscle health, control weight, and improve sleep patterns, leading to an overall healthier lifestyle throughout the year. And the stronger you are in general, the stronger your body will be to fight off illnesses – or recover in case you get sick despite your best efforts to avoid it.
6. Make time for downtime.
Although it sounds like they are contradictory, making time for downtime is just as important as staying active. Your body (and mind, by the way) needs time to regroup through relaxation and the appropriate amount of sleep. Lack of sleep alone can make you feel sick, as many of us know firsthand. So help your body protect itself by giving it a break. It can only do so much for you.
7. Eat healthy.
A healthy diet strengthens the immune system, helping the body resist viruses or infection. Your body needs antioxidants and vitamins to stay healthy. Some of the foods and spices that provide your body with what it needs to fight off illnesses are garlic, sweet potatoes, turmeric, dark leafy greens, and, as you may have guessed, chicken soup.
8. See your doctor.
Because every senior is different, talk with your doctor about how you, specifically, can stay healthy during the winter season. Taking extra precautions to protect yourself from illnesses is the best way to ensure that you can enjoy all the things you look forward to doing during the season.