1. Wash your hands often. With the cold weather, folks being indoors more and the flu season upon us, it is important to minimize our exposure to germs. Cover your coughs and sneezes and encourage others to as well.
2. Dress warm. Many layers rather than one will actually keep you warmer. With a temperature of 20 degrees and a wind of 10 miles per hour, the wind chill temperature is only 9 degrees! Children have more of their skin exposed per body mass than adults, so make sure that they are covering up!
3. Eat healthy. It is easy to overeat or eat the wrong foods when you are less active and not able to get outside as often. Look for warm and light recipes such as hearty soups and filling salads. Practice the 5 in the 5-2-1-0 program. Have 5 servings (1/2 cup) of fruit or vegetables a day.
4. Stay physically active. Often we feel like hibernating in the cold weather. We need to keep our bodies moving to be healthy whether we do it indoors or outdoors. All you need is one hour per day. It doesn’t all need to be done at once. These days there are a lot of resources for indoor activities, such as instructional DVDs of exercise programs like aerobics, dancing or yoga. Outdoor activities are such as skating, sledding or walking are also good ways to get physical.
5. Get some sun. Although there is not a lot of sunshine out there, getting at least 15 to 20 minutes per day can boost your Vitamin D levels. We need this for our body to process calcium effectively.
6. Get some sleep. Sleeping a full night helps to restore our bodies. It helps to strengthen the immune system while we rest.
If you do get sick:
- Make some chicken soup. There is evidence that it can help you recover quicker when you have cold or flu symptoms.
- Use honey, lemon and hot water to soothe a sore throat. The lemon and hot water help to break up mucous. There is evidence that honey works better than cough drops at controlling coughs and soothing sore throats.
- Salt water is a great defense. Gargling with salt water can help rid the body of unwanted to germs and soothe and irritated throat. Spraying a saltwater solution in the nasal passages can help to soothe dryness and pulls the germs out of the mucous membranes.
- Elevate the head. Using an additional pillow to elevate the head when congested can help us breathe easier and get a better night’s sleep.
- Stay home. If you have a temperature or are unable to contain coughing and sneezing, then you would be doing a healthy act for your community. Although we worry about calling in ill for work, it is important to consider those around you. Keeping others healthy is not only a health care providers job.
Children should stay home from school to avoid getting others ill and for their body to recuperate when they experience:
- a temperature of 100.4 or greater
- pink and oozing eyes.
They should remain out of school for 24 hours following these symptoms.