Now that the days are shorter and the weather is colder, it’s important to
maintain healthy habits that will keep you feeling your best all winter
long. And that means doing more than just bundling up. Here are six ways to
stay healthy during cold weather:
- Get a flu shot. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to help
prevent the spread of flu. No one wants to come down with the flu — it can cause symptoms such as
coughing, congestion, fever, and fatigue that can last up to two weeks.
Protect yourself and your family
from getting sick by getting the flu vaccine. Recent studies show that flu
vaccination reduces the risk of flu
between 40 to 60 percent.
- Wash your hands often. Winter is
peak season for contagious illnesses; in addition to COVID-19, we still need to take precautions to protect
against cold and flu. The most effective way to remove and prevent the
spread of illness-causing germs is to
wash your hands frequently. When washing your hands, remember to get a good lather of soap on your
hands, and scrub for at least 20 seconds with warm water. If soap and water
are not available, use an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer
to help slow the spread of viruses.
- Eat for immunity. As part of your efforts to stay well and avoid the cold and flu this
winter, it’s important to eat healthy
foods that support your immune system, including mushrooms, garlic, citrus fruits, herbs and spices, probiotics,
prebiotics, and chicken soup. For example, yogurt is one of the best
sources of probiotics. Apples, bananas, garlic, and onions are good sources
- Keep moving!
The winter months can be a challenging time to stick to your exercise
routine. Not only can preparing for the holidays leave you feeling drained,
the cold weather can also be a deterrent to getting outside for some
exercise. While it’s important to
stay active during the winter, it’s also necessary to follow local guidelines on social distancing to
stay safe. Consider working out at home with
virtual exercise classes or exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or stair climber, and try to add extra movement into
your routine throughout the day. When the weather is nice, take the
opportunity to get some fresh air with a
hike in one of the area’s many trails.
- Get some sun. While the availability of sunlight is limited during the winter months,
it’s important to spend some time outdoors even when it’s cold. Sunlight
has been shown to
help improve your mood
by boosting the release of a hormone called serotonin. Exposure to sunlight
is especially important to help treat those suffering from seasonal
affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. Exposure to sunlight also
regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls your body clock and affects sleep habits.
- Maintain good skin health. Cold weather can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving you with dryness,
flaking, cracking, and in some cases, eczema. To
keep your skin moist and healthy
through the winter, be sure to drink plenty of water, hydrate your skin
with an ointment moisturizer, and use sunscreen whenever you’re out during
the day. Exposure to the sun’s rays, even in the winter, can still have
damaging effects on your skin, so be sure to choose a sunscreen that has an
SPF factor of 30 or above to ensure adequate protection.
Protect Yourself with a Flu Shot
Most Independence Blue Cross (Independence) health plan members can get
their flu vaccine for $0 when they present their member ID card at
in-network providers.* For Independence members who pay out of pocket at a
non-participating location, you can
for the cost up to $50. Visit Independence’s
to learn more.
*Independence members can call the number on their member ID card or ask
their benefits administrator for more information about health coverage.
Independence Blue Cross offers products through its subsidiaries
Independence Hospital Indemnity Plan, Keystone Health Plan East and QCC
Insurance Company, and with Highmark Blue Shield — independent licensees of
the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
This article was originally published on
About Veronica Serrano
Mother. Wife. TV junkie. Shopaholic. That’s me in a nutshell – outside of
work. As a copywriter at IBX, I enjoy learning about the health and
wellness topics that I write about and hope to incorporate more healthy
habits into my daily life to give me the energy to keep up with my baby