As the days grow shorter and the temperature continues to drop, it’s
important to make healthy habits a priority. And that means doing more than
just bundling up. Here are six ways to stay healthy during cold weather:
Wash your hands often. Winter is
peak season for contagious illnesses, such as 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.
Get a flu shot. No one wants to come down with the flu virus — it can cause symptoms
such as coughing, congestion, fever, and fatigue, that can last up to
two weeks! You can
protect yourself and your family
from getting sick by getting the flu vaccine. Recent studies show that
vaccination reduces the risk of flu
between 40 to 60 percent.
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.
The winter months can be a challenging time to stick to your exercise
routine. Parties and gatherings can leave you feeling drained; the cold
weather can also be a deterrent to getting outside for some exercise.
stay active during the winter, try hitting the gym or working out at home with DVDs or exercise
equipment, such as a treadmill or stair climber.
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 those suffering from seasonal
affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. Exposure to sunlight
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
Protect yourself with a flu shot
Many Independence Blue Cross health plans include coverage for seasonal flu
shots. To check to see if your plan covers the flu vaccine, check out this
Flu Vaccine Coverage Chart
or call customer service at the number on the back of your member ID card
for coverage information.
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