10 Tips for Staying Healthy in Winter

woman-wearing-brown-coat-700535.jpgThe beginning of the year is always exciting, and we hear a lot about how the New Year brings with it new possibilities and opportunities. Unfortunately, the year also begins during the coldest, sickest season of the year. It can be disheartening to start January with so much motivation and enthusiasm only to be hit with a nasty cold that takes weeks to fully get over. While there is no way to guarantee that you completely avoid illness during the winter months, there are some practical things you can do to help you stay healthy this time of year.

1. Watch out for sneezes.

Of course you've heard it's polite to cover your mouth when you sneeze, but you probably don’t realize how important that is.

Germs from a sneeze travel much farther than originally thought. While larger droplets may be more obvious, smaller ones create a "cloud" that is often difficult to see. These clouds can travel far enough to reach an air ventilation system.

Be sure to cover your sneeze and if you’re around someone who fails to do so, kindly hand them a tissue, and then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at the first available opportunity.

In addition, be aware that sneezing is a symptom of not just the common cold, but a host of allergy problems as well. If sneezing is an issue for you, come and see us and we'll work to get to the bottom of what's causing your sneezing.

2. Wipe down the germy items in your home.

Clean doorknobs, handles, TV remotes and any video game controllers. All of these surfaces are covered in germs and over the holidays, having additional company only introduces new bacteria to the mix.

Cleaning these surfaces is a good habit to practice year round, and it’s vital if you are caring for a member of your household who is sick.

3. Wash your hands properly.

You should wash your hands with soap and warm water for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.” The Centers for Disease Control has gone as far to say that handwashing is a “do-it-yourself vaccination.” The CDC has extensive resources and statistics on the importance of washing your hands.

4. Don't fear the Flu Shot.

Influenza kills thousands of Americans each year. If you haven’t had your vaccination yet, don’t worry. Experts say that as long as the flu is circulating, it is beneficial to get a flu shot. Remember, the flu shot does not cause the flu. Don’t fall for that myth and other misconceptions. The Centers for Disease Control offers extensive information on how to tell flu facts from fiction.

5. Stay home if you're sick.

You may think your coworkers admire your stamina for coming into work when you have a cold or throat infection. In actuality, they're more concerned about catching the germs themselves and likely don't appreciate you bringing unwelcome bacteria into the office.

If your coworker does come into work sick, make sure you wipe down everything he or she has touched.

6. Keep your hands away from your nose or mouth.

By touching your nose and mouth---particularly after coming in contact with communal objects such as tables, doorknobs and TV remotes---you're giving viruses and bacteria a beeline to your sinuses. Don’t touch these areas unless you wash your hands first.

7. Take steps get allergens out of your home.

If untreated, chronic allergies can lead to sinus infections and other ENT issues.

You can clear your home of allergens by eliminating areas where mold breeds, using dust-mite proof mattresses, and making sure that Fido is trimmed and bathed to avoid spreading pet dander.

8. Minimize your stress.

Stress takes a toll on your body’s immune system and, as a result, makes you more vulnerable to any bacteria.

9. Build up your immune system.

While over-the-counter remedies make outlandish claims about boosting your immune system, one of the most effective methods is often overlooked: sleep.

Getting plenty of rest is vital to help your body stay healthy, according to the Cleveland ClinicIf you have trouble sleeping, or if you or your partner snores, come see us at Ashford Clinic. Many sleep disorders and issues are easily treatable.

​​10. Avoid crowded environments.

This is difficult, but whenever possible, try to shop or go to the grocery store during times when the store is the least busy. Even better, take advantage of many of the free pick-up services available, where you can place your orders online and don't even have to go into the store.