Health and wellness are important all year long. There are, however, certain health problems that are more common during specific parts of the year. You are much more likely to suffer sunburn and heat stroke during the summer than during the winter, for example. Here are a few common winter health problems along with some tips to stay healthy during the winter.
Several different viruses can cause a cold, but rhinoviruses are the most common cause. Wash your hands often throughout cold and flu season, and learn the difference between a cold and the flu.
You can get sick with flu virus at any time during the year, but it’s most common from late fall to early spring. As with preventing colds, washing your hands can help prevent spreading flu virus. The most important thing that you can do to help prevent the spread of flu, however, is to get a flu shot.
Pneumonia is a bacterial infection that often follows a cold or flu infection. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have cold or flu symptoms that do not get better after a few days.
You do not typically need to see a medical professional about a sore throat. It is important to monitor your symptoms, however. A sore throat may indicate that a more serious winter health problem is coming on. Talk to your doctor if symptoms don’t get better
Sometimes a sore throat is the sign of strep throat. Strep throat isn’t specifically a winter health problem, but it’s easier to spread bacterial infections when people spend a lot of time in close proximity. Strep throat is common in children, but adults don’t usually get strep throat. Antibiotics can treat strep throat quickly.
Poor indoor air quality
People tend to spend more time indoors during the cold winter months. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the air quality indoors is typically much lower than the quality of the air outdoors.
- Change your air filters.
- Sweep, dust, and vacuum.
- Wash linens on a regular basis.
- Have professional inspect chimneys and heating systems.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector and check batteries twice a year.
Cold, dry air can trigger asthma attacks for people with asthma. Be sure to take any medication that’s been prescribed by your physician, and always carry your rescue inhaler if you have one. Consider exercising indoors and avoid vigorous physical activity outdoors on especially cold and windy days.
It’s cold outside, so you spend more time inside. This typically means sitting and reading, lying on the couch, playing games, or other activities that require minimal physical activity, or no physical activity at all.
Make a point to stay active during the winter. Wear layers and brave the cold, or find ways to exercise indoors. Go to the gym, find an indoor track, have a family dance party, or play sports at an indoor sports complex.
Unhealthy eating habits
Comfort foods and convenience foods are commonplace on the menu during winter. We seek hearty and unhealthy meals on and in between, holidays instead of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.
There was a time when winter meant no fresh produce, but grocery stores – with ready access to fresh produce – make it possible to eat healthy all year long. Frozen and canned vegetables are healthy options, too!
Even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression, you may find that you’re more lethargic and less happy during the winter. Less sunlight, less physical activity, and changes in your sleep schedule may contribute to these feelings.
Try to stick to your regular schedule and talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about feelings of depression.
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- Get a flu shot, wash your hands, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay active, maintain a healthy diet, and be sure to get enough sleep each night.
- Don’t wait for winter health problems. Schedule a wellness visit with your primary care physician.
- Talk to your doctor when you experience symptoms. You don’t have to wait for your symptoms to get “bad enough” before seeking treatment or advice.
Sometimes you can’t prevent winter health problems, and you can’t wait to see your doctor. Visit MANA Urgent Care whenever you need medical care fast.