Posted December 09, 2021 by Charles A. Zonfa, MD, FACOG | Chief Medical Office
It’s wintertime once again! And whether you’re looking forward to the season ahead or not, there are plenty of preparations to help you stay healthy this time of year. SummaCare offers seven tips to help you stay healthy this winter and into the warmer weather months ahead.
Get Up to Date on Vaccinations
Do your part to protect yourself and loved ones during this season of respiratory infections.
Flu season peaks in January, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to get your flu shot. Everyone six months and older should receive the flu shot. Summa Health and other health experts warn it’s especially important this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a potentially difficult flu season.
Adding the COVID-19 vaccine to your list is vital. As more and more people move indoors and safety precautions wane, it’s the best way to protect yourself against the virus and help stop the spread. It’s now available for anyone 5 years and older.
For adults 65 and older, or anyone with a chronic health condition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend the pneumonia vaccine.
Practice Proper Hygiene
With viruses such as the common cold, RSV, influenza and COVID-19 circulating this winter, it’s important to be vigilant about proper hygiene. Protect yourself and reduce the spread of these viruses by:
Protect Your Heart
Studies show when temperatures drop, the rates of heart attacks, stroke and other heart-related conditions go up, according to the American Heart Association. Cold weather makes your heart work harder to keep your body warm. Take these steps this winter to protect your heart:
Be Mindful of Driving Conditions
While you can’t control the weather, you can decide to stay home and avoid driving. Each year, more than 150,000 car crashes occur due to snowy, slippery roads, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
If you must go out, make sure roads are in good condition. Go slow and be especially careful on bridges and overpasses. Keep an ice scraper in your car to clean all windows before getting behind the wheel.
Wear Shoes with Good Traction
With icy, slippery conditions, falling is unfortunately a common wintertime injury. When heading outside, make sure your shoes or boots have a sole with good traction and a low heel to help prevent slips and falls. Watch where you’re walking and tread carefully to avoid icy patches.
Getting hot and sweaty in the summertime is a trigger to drink water, but it’s just as important to stay hydrated when it’s cold, too. Staying hydrated keeps you energized, helps protect your skin from dry, cold winter air and keeps your body working in tip-top shape.
A good goal is to drink about eight glasses or more of water each day. Mix it up with herbal teas, fruit-infused water or 100% juice. Even broth-based soups count toward your fluid intake.
Get Vitamin D
More time spent indoors and less sunlight on your skin can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D is crucial for bone health.
Good sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and low-fat dairy, such as yogurt and cheese, fish and eggs. If diet alone isn’t enough, consider a Vitamin D supplement.