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Winter Wellness Tips

Winter Wellness Tips

Written by Amanda Bauler, CRNP, Valley Health War Memorial Hospital Family Medicine | Hancock.

Winter is just around the corner and with it comes the onslaught of colds and flus. How can you stay healthier this winter?

Back to the Basics

First, back to the basics. Wash your hands! Cold and flu viruses are primarily spread through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These viruses can live on surfaces (door-knobs, counters, etc) for extended periods. Wash your hands throughout the day to protect yourself from this germ assault.1

Eat for Strength

It has long been known that malnutrition increases your risk of infectious disease. To build a healthy immune system focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and legumes. These plant foods are rich in micro-nutrients that provide your immune system with all the nutrients it needs to perform at peak.2

Cut Back on Sugary Snacks

Sugar impairs the ability of your germ fighting cells to function properly. The effect lasts for several hours after you eat a sugary snack or drink a sugar laden beverage.3 Give your immune system a boost by substituting a vitamin-rich fruit instead of the candy or some refreshing water or herbal tea instead of the soda!

Don’t Stop Moving!

Exercise promotes healthy immune function and several studies have shown it helps prevent the common cold.4 Think of ways to keep moving, even when it is chilly outside. There’s nothing better than a brisk 20-30 minute walk to increase energy and boost your immune health—just add an extra layer or two of clothes. If the weather outside is miserable find ways to be more active indoors (climb the stairs, work-out with an online aerobics program, or do some chair exercises). Every little bit helps!

Vitamin D-Missing the Sunshine Vitamin?

A growing body of research links Vitamin D deficiency to poor immune function and an increased risk of colds and flus. Supplement with Vitamin D3 1000 IU fall to spring and whenever the sunshine is out-get outside and take a walk to soak up just a little of its benefits.5

Amanda Bauler, CRNP is now accepting new patients at Valley Health War Memorial Hospital Family Medicine │ Hancock. To schedule an appointment, please call 301-678-6292.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work & School. Retrieved at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm

Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. How to Boost Your Immune System. Retrieved at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

3Albert Sanchez, J. L. Reeser, H. S. Lau, P. Y. Yahiku, R. E. Willard, P. J. McMillan, S. Y. Cho, A. R. Magie, and U. D. Register. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis.

PubMed Health. The effect of exercise on prevention of the common cold: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial studies. Retrieved at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0068602/

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Vitamin D and Health. Retrieved at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/