Give Winter Illness the Cold Shoulder

There’s no better time for celebrating traditions than the holiday season. However, there’s one tradition you should leave off your list this year: catching a winter bug. You don’t want to be bedridden with an injury or illness while everyone else is out decking the halls and caroling to their heart's content. Follow these tips to keep yourself in holly jolly health this season!

Say Bye to Bacteria

Bacteria is on just about everything you touch, so wash your hands frequently, especially before eating or touching your face. “Disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home and workplace, including doorknobs, keyboards, and cell phones, to keep the bacteria at bay,” advises Dr. Patricia Sammarelli, physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care West Villa Maria.

Improve Your Immunity

A vaccine is the most important line of defense between you and the influenza virus. It’s essential to receive a flu vaccination annually because the vaccine changes each year to be specifically effective against the most prevalent, current form of the virus. While the vaccine doesn’t protect you against every version of the flu, it can reduce the severity of your symptoms for whatever strain you might catch. If you’re concerned about the safety of vaccines, read about vaccine facts and fictions.

Jog Away From Germs

Don’t skip your workout just because the temperature is dropping. Light to moderate exercise switches your immune system into high gear, which reduces your likelihood of developing a respiratory infection. Avoid overly intense workouts, however, as they can lead to immunosuppression, which results in a higher risk of disease. If you are exercising outdoors, be sure to wear shoes with adequate traction to avoid slipping, and run with reflective clothing and a flashing light if you’re out after the sun has set.

Steam Your Snout

Your nostrils contain several layers of mucus that trap bacteria and viruses that enter your nose. However, the lowered humidity that typically accompanies winter dries out the mucus, leaving it unable to trap items and increasing your risk for various infections. Lucky for you, there are a few options when it comes to moisturizing your nose. You can keep the air in your home anywhere between 30-50 percent humidity with a humidifier, or you can use a saline nose spray three times every day.

Don’t let disease put a damper on your holiday spirit! If you or your child hasn’t received this year’s flu vaccine, find the nearest St. Joseph Health flu vaccine clinic and schedule an appointment today! At the first sign of illness, visit your St. Joseph Health primary care physician for testing and treatment before you develop more severe symptoms. With these simple steps and guidance from your trusted healthcare provider, you can take action to stay healthy all winter long.



Today | 26 ways to avoid getting sick this winter

NCBI | Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections

NCBI | Effects of second hand smoke on airway secretion and mucociliary clearance

American Rhinologic Society | Nasal Physiology

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