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Winter is almost over, but don’t let your guard down. Spring can bring seasonal allergies and cold weather, even as the temperatures start to rise. To stay happy and healthy during the change of seasons, practice these 8 health and wellness tips.
1. Get Your Shots
Vaccines don’t completely eradicate disease risk but lower your chances of becoming severely ill. They work by helping your immune system develop antibodies by introducing a weakened or replicated viral form so that your body’s defenses know what to do when encountering an otherwise unknown pathogen.
You should get your annual flu shot. Additionally, please get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you haven’t yet done so. If you have, please consider a booster. Both Pfizer and Moderna recently released updated versions that offer better protection against the Omicron variant, but you must have had your first round of one or two shots first.
2. Eat More Foods Rich in Vitamin C and Zinc
You’ve undoubtedly seen cold and flu remedies on store shelves boasting mega-doses of vitamin C, zinc or both. Here’s the deal, though: these nutrients only help shorten a cold’s duration if you have an ample supply in your body when you first get sick. They won’t be as effective if you wait until after symptoms develop.
Start supplementing now. Also, please remember that your body absorbs nutrients from food far more efficiently than from pills. Introduce more foods rich in these substances into your diet. Foods high in vitamin C include the following:
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Kiwi fruit
- White potatoes
Foods high in zinc include the following:
- Mushrooms, especially morels
- Dark chocolate
Nuts are doubly handy this time of year. Why? They’re high in magnesium, a vital mineral for warding off depression. Some varieties, like walnuts, also offer neuron-boosting omega 3’s. If you get the winter blues, make mixed nuts your go-to snack.
3. Keep Up Your Hygiene
Dirty hands spread germs. By now, you’ve sung “Happy Birthday” in your head millions of times. Keep humming that tune as you scrub your paws and get under your nails, too — the bacteria count there is several times higher than the rest of your palms.
Keep your hand sanitizer and wipes at the ready, too. What about masks? Although authorities have lifted restrictions nearly everywhere, it’s still wise to wear one in indoor public spaces. You don’t know how facilities maintain their HVAC, nor can you force strangers to sneeze into their sleeves.
4. Invest in a Humidifier
A humidifier can significantly reduce your chances of infectious diseases, especially if you work in enclosed spaces with others. Why? Your mucous membranes are your body’s first line of defense against invaders, but they need a healthy slime coat to capture the enemy pathogens. Dry, indoor air evaporates mucous, letting bacteria and viruses get through.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get a floor model to do the trick. You can find desktop aromatherapy devices that create a pleasant mist and an uplifting scent. You might even double your efforts with a few essential oils, which work by activating receptors in your brain that tell your body what to do. Scents like eucalyptus and cypress seem to stimulate immune function.
5. Bundle Up Tight
Will the cold alone make you sick? No — you need a pathogen to do that. However, exposure to temperature extremes taxes your immune system, lowering your reserves for fighting off germs.
Your best bet? Dress in layers so that you can peel some away when moving from outdoor to indoor locations. Please be sure to cover your head and extremities. Although the old wives’ tale about losing half your heat through your head is false, you still sacrifice 7% to 10%. Plus, frigid temperatures can gripe your arthritis something awful.
6. Change Your Air Filters
Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is crucial to ward off colds and flu. Ideally, you should swap yours every three months, although you may wish to do so more often if you have pets or smokers in the home. It’s also smart to change them after your family recovers from illness.
You can’t do much about the air in your workplace. However, try sitting near a window if possible. If not, consider investing in a desktop air purifier to breathe more comfortably.
7. Schedule Sun Time (and Consider a Supplement)
Getting outdoors has oodles of immunity-boosting benefits. Breathing in the phytoncides trees emits tells your body to increase natural killer cells, a potent germ fighter. Additionally, sun exposure helps you produce natural vitamin D.
However, getting outdoors may not be enough if you live above 37 degrees latitude of the equator — more than half of the United States. There simply isn’t enough exposure in winter. Instead, consider a D3 supplement, which may increase your levels better than the D2 versions.
8. Include Self-Care in Your Holiday Schedule
The holidays mean flitting like a gadfly as you buzz from festivity to festivity, all while planning personal celebrations, shopping for gifts and writing cards to distant relatives. It’s enough to overwhelm anyone, especially those simultaneously trying to work and raise a family.
The solution? Double down on adding self-care to your daily planner. Put it in first. Learn how to say no to invitations to avoid overextending yourself. While there are a few must-attends, like your office party, know your limits with the rest. There’s no need to RSVP “yes” to every white elephant invitation and spend hours looking for the perfect gag gift for each one.
Winter Health and Wellness Tips
The cold season all too often means cold and flu. How can you avoid feeling miserable this winter?
Although there’s no failsafe, you can take proactive measures to protect yourself from germs. Follow the above winter health and wellness tips for a sniffle-free season.
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