It seems like only a few weeks ago that summer was in the air and the temperatures were in the 80’s. Fall has definitely arrived and winter is knocking at the door - before you know it, you start to feel a scratchy sore throat and stuffy nose coming on. The cooler air can often affect our immune systems and bring about increased susceptibility to colds and flu. Here are 5 ways to prevent you from getting sick during the transition to cold weather:
1. Wash Your Hands
You hear this all the time. Your hands are susceptible to a plethora of germs as a result of the multiple surfaces you come in contact with during the day. If you put your hands near your mouth, eyes, and ears, it is easy for germs and viruses to make their way into your body. Be conscious of handwashing, especially before eating, as it is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick. If you are not always near a sink, hand sanitizer is your best option.
2. Gargle Water
One study showed that people who gargled plain water are less likely to contract an upper respiratory illness than those who do not gargle. Surprising, but this may be a very simple way to wash out the bacteria that might be lingering in your mouth and throat. Tap water is recommended due to the small amount of chlorine that may ward off the germs. It is recommended to keep swooshing the tap water around your mouth for 60 seconds and spitting it out.
3. Get A Flu Vaccine
Being vaccinated for the flu will not only decrease your chance of getting the flu this year, but it will also help those around you avoid the flu as well. The flu is most often spread via contact with someone who is already ill. Therefore, the more of us who are immunized, the less likelihood there will be for us to spread the virus to others.
4. Stay Active
Exercise is not only a great way to stay in shape but it actually may help prevent you from getting sick. A study showed that the immune systems of those who regularly engaged in mild exercise (45 minutes of exercise 3-5 days per week) were more capable of fighting off upper respiratory illnesses.
In fact, another study showed that those who simply walked 35-45 minutes (5 days per week) used only half as many sick days as those with sedentary lifestyles. As we know, there is no more a beautiful place for a bike ride, hike, or jog with the family than New York in the Fall. So get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather and even more beautiful foliage!
5. Sleep More
During the summer, most of us are less concerned about getting a good night's sleep as we enjoy long summer evenings outdoors. Now that the temperatures have dropped and the days are shorter, it is important to make sure you keep a regular sleep schedule in order to avoid getting sick. Sleep habits and duration have a direct influence on both mental and physical health. One study even showed that those who slept less than 7 hours per night were up to 3 times more susceptible to catching a cold than those who slept more than 7 hours. So try to create a sleep schedule and stick to it!
If you do find yourself coming down with an illness, our team of providers can diagnose and treat your illness and have you ready to enjoy the cold weather and holiday season. Walk-in or save your spot online using the widget below at any one of our GoHealth Urgent Care centers: