The holidays are fast approaching and what could be worse than getting sick during the most wonderful time of the year? Some of us find ourselves resilient to cold weather viruses, but a lot of us aren’t so lucky. This week is National Flu Vaccination Week. It’s time to really start thinking about preventing viruses that could potentially lead to a few weeks of misery.
Other than a flu shot, here are some additional measures that can help you avoid getting a cold or the flu this winter:
This may seem obvious, but with less sunlight in our day and constantly changing temperatures, it’s very important to stay on top of things. Shivering suppresses the immune system, making you more vulnerable to sickness. Wear a hat to contain body heat, and don’t stay out in cooler temperatures for too long.
This is the staple for Preventing Any Disease 101. Wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds. Even in the comfort of your own home, there are bacteria and viruses lurking around any doorknob. If you touch these “fomites” as they are called and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, you expose yourself to these germs.
If someone around you feels ill, the last thing you should do is cuddle with them to keep them warm – as long as you don’t want to get sick. Viruses are not just transmitted through physical contact, but through air as well. If you are in close enough contact with a person who is sick with the cold or flu, that person can transmit the virus without touching you.
Now more than ever is the time to adopt healthy habits like drinking plenty of water, getting some exercise, and perhaps taking a vitamin supplement. Drinking water can help flush toxins out of your body. Exercise boosts your immune system and multivitamins can give you a boost of the good stuff when you are feeling low – especially when you are not getting enough vitamin D from the absent sun.
Pain can affect our immune system and make us more vulnerable to disease or illness. Chronic pain makes it tough to maintain the same level of activity. Having a regular exercise routine can ease pain, especially low back pain, but the colder weather can prevent us from leaving our warm homes. The colder weather makes our bodies stiffer, and can increase pain that we might be feeling.
What can you do to alleviate cold weather induced pain?
- Break out the heating pad or take a warm bath
- Exercise. For some easy tips for exercise you can listen to Part I and II of my interview with Mark Sisson.
- Keep your painful areas warm and try to exercise in your home, or at the gym if possible. Take a little tip from Elsa from the Disney movie, Frozen and don’t let the cold stop you from giving yourself the best chance to overcome pain:
You can find more tips on pain relief from exercise in my interview with Gunnar Peterson this Saturday at 5:00 pm EST on SiriusXM Family Talk 131.
Remember, no one is immune to pain, but together we can overcome it.