7 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy During the Winter Months
Winter months are synonymous with that chilly, stay-at-home weather, but also with sniffles and an increased risk for infections.
Winter months are synonymous with that chilly, stay-at-home weather, but also with sniffles and an increased risk for infections. Why is that? Hint: it's not because of cold weather alone.
It turns out that the germs responsible for the flu and other typical cold-weather illnesses spread more easily when it's freezing outside. When combined with a weakened immune system, the cold is a pathway for disease. At this time of year, there's not much we can do but try to shield ourselves and our family members from the viruses winter may bring with it. Here are seven great ways to keep everyone in good health during the flu season.
Indulge in healthy, hot beverages
Teas are more than just warm and comfortable to drink—they're also some of the healthiest beverages in the world. We usually hear about black, white, green, and oolong teas, all of which derive from the Camellia sinensis plant. Those are what we call teas, while any other herbal mixtures should be called infusions (which aren't any less healthy).
First, teas are packed with heart-healthy substances called flavonoids, which are also known to prevent cancer. If you're trying to cut down on caffeine but don't feel like quitting altogether, brew yourself a hot cup of black or green tea to stay warm, more alert, and healthy.
Get your immune system ready
There are a lot of things you can do to give your antibodies the boost they need to fight off disease. Get yourself and your family used to:
- Getting at least 15 minutes of sunlight for a daily dose of vitamin D
- Eating plenty of immune-boosting fruits and veggies (like oranges and broccoli)
- Practicing relaxing activities like yoga, or simply de-stressing. Too much stress can hinder our immune function.
By following the previous simple, everyday steps, you'll be doing your part to combat viruses. Let your body handle the rest.
Exercise (even if it's indoors)
It's hard to hit the gym or go for a run when you don't even feel like leaving your blankets. Whenever it gets that difficult, try not to stay still. The moment you start exercising, dancing, cleaning the house, or walking your dog, your body will warm up, we promise. You don't necessarily need to set an early alarm for the gym if you know you won't make it. Keep it real, and exercise at home to get your blood pumping the same way. You can also try exercising with the family to make it more fun.
Keep the air filters clean
You might be contributing to illness in your own home and not even realizing it. While our HVAC systems keep us cool or warm depending on the season, the air filters mustn't be dusty or dirty. A dirty filter can pick up a lot of debris, mold, dust, and where does all that go? Exactly, to your family's respiratory system. If that's not enough, accumulation will prevent the system from working optimally. It's a good idea to check your air filter for dirt every few months.
If you can, avoid crowded places
Closed places such as malls are always brimming with people, and during winter, it's likely that a lot of them will be sick. Prefer open spaces like parks or open-air restaurants. If you're traveling during the winter season, chose a perfect, peaceful vacation destination over somewhere crowded and agitated. If there's no way you can avoid closed spaces, follow the next step.
Wash your hands
It doesn't hurt to remind everyone about the importance of clean hands. When you're out or even at home, you'll have touched a lot of contaminated people and surfaces. The easiest way to get rid of potentially harmful germs is by washing your hands periodically, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yes, the water might be freezing, but that's better than shivering from a cold, right?
Make sure everyone's insured
Suppose someone from your family does get sick. We want to avoid that with the previous tips, but if it does happen, a quick trip to the doctor is always the best solution. Appointments can be costly but your family's health is important, so skip the hassle by researching cheap health insurance that best fits your family's medical needs. You can find the best health insurance with iSelect.