Five ways to avoid getting sick this winter

Sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to avoid getting sick this time of year. But it’s not just cold weather that brings on the sneezes and sniffles. Stress, lack of sleep, and poor eating habits can all deplete your immune system and make you vulnerable to whatever’s going around the office (or the school). Follow these five tips, and cold weather won’t have to mean getting a cold.

  1. Get your flu shot. It’s not too late to get one, and flu shots are covered by most insurance plans. You can get a flu shot at Covenant MedExpress or FastCare, your doctor’s office or even your local drugstore. While it won’t guarantee immunity, it can protect you from as many as 40 to 60 percent of flu infections and reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get the flu. Infants and the elderly are the most severely affected by flu, so getting your flu shot will help protect the babies and grandparents in your life, too.
  2. Wash your hands. Mom always said to wash your hands, and there’s plenty of scientific evidence to back her up. According to the CDC, proper handwashing can result in a 16-21% decrease in respiratory illnesses. So, to avoid getting sick, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds every time you use the restroom, and before you eat. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best option. Carry some with you, just in case.     
  3. Get plenty of sleep. With holiday preparations and end-of-year work deadlines, some people skimp on sleep to get everything done. But sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses—and then you’ll be forced to slow down to recover. To avoid getting sick, make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. 
  4. Reduce stress. Stress can weaken your immune system and interfere with sleep. To keep stress at bay during busy times, try to build in breaks that refresh you. Cap off a long day of holiday shopping with a relaxing dinner out. When weather permits, get outside and take a walk in nature. Give yourself time to relax and regain perspective. You might realize that a lot of those things on your to-do list aren’t as important as having time to enjoy the season.
  5. Eat well. Don’t let the combination of a busy schedule and holiday goodies thwart your healthy eating goals. Eat regular meals with plenty of vegetables and fiber. Eating well will not only help you avoid getting sick, it will help you avoid those extra pounds you’d have to make New Year’s resolutions to lose.

 

One last suggestion: if you do get sick, don’t wait to see a doctor. Find a physician on our website, or go to a Covenant MedExpress Urgent Care location.

Posted Date: 1/21/2020


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Wednesday, March 18, 2020 by Nancy westberg
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