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Ultimate Guide to Staying Healthy This Winter

Winter is almost here. For us in Colorado, it means ski season! But cold weather also means more gatherings inside. We have put together some practical tips to help you stay healthy as the temperatures drop.

1 - Get the flu shot

If you haven't already, it is still not too late! The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over six months of age. It is the best way to prevent getting the flu.

2 - Sleep

Sleep deprivation can affect your immune system. Sleep is so important that it has been shown that if you are well rested, the flu vaccine may help your body develop better immunity against the flu virus.

Lack of sleep, especially chronic sleep deprivation can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

Cold temperatures increase the stress on the body. Hence your normal daily activities consume more energy in the cold of winter. This is why getting adequate sleep is especially important in the winter months.

3 - Diet

A good diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It is hard to stick to a healthy diet, especially around the holidays where there is an abundance of well...everything.

Here are some diet habits that can be incorporated into your routine and help you maintain your health.

There are several ways to boost your immune system with diet. Tumeric, which contains curcumin as well as ginger have anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Moreover, ginger contains sesquierpenes that can help the body fight off the cold virus.

Also, garlic has been shown to reduce the risk of actually getting the common cold.

Additionally, adding fiber to your diet is not only good for your colon health and preventing constipation, but it has other beneficial effects such as lowering your cholesterol.

Increasing dark leafy greens and other vegetables in your diet is a good way to get antioxidants into your system. They are also a good source of folate, a type of vitamin B which has many protective health benefits for your body.

While there is no hard evidence that the above work, there is really no harm in adding them to your diet. So why not give it a try?

4 - Wash your hands

This is the historic basis of infection control. One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is regular hand washing with soap and water. Does not need to be a special "antibiotic soap" any soap will work.

According to data from the CDC, hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 20 percent.

5 - Hypothermia

Cold temperatures can cause your body temperature to drop after prolonged exposure.

Hypothermia is when the core body temperature drops below 95 degrees F.

Keep in mind that frostbite is the most common injury caused by cold exposure.

Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. This usually occurs in the finger tips and toes and in severe cases may end up requiring amputation of the finger or toe.

It is important to recognize hypothermia early and get out of the cold as soon as possible.

Winter brings with it many amazing things but the intimate gatherings in small confined spaces put us all at higher risk of communicable diseases. Take these steps to stay healthy this winter.

Take away points:

The cold months are beautiful but the extremes in temperature can affect your health. Hopefully the above tips will help you stay healthy throughout the winter months.

Please remember that medical information provided by us must be considered an educational service only. This blog should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not replace your physician’s independent judgement. Please seek the advice of your physician regarding any issues related to your health.

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