Winter’s blustery arrival doesn’t have to put a damper on your health. As your daily routine changes to accommodate darker evenings and colder temperatures, take some simple steps to stay healthy this winter.
- Wash your hands
What do the flu, common cold, and stomach bugs all have in common? They’re easily transmitted by our hands. Think of all the things you touch – door knobs, pens, faucet handles, microwave buttons – that are also touched by family members, co-workers and total strangers. Washing your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, is an easy way to avoid common illness-causing germs lurking on those surfaces.
- Drink plenty of water
Cranking up the heater to stay warm can cause dehydration and dry out your skin, as can the cold, dry air outdoors. Water helps regulate body functions and avoid symptoms like nosebleeds, itchy skin and headaches. So drink up, even if you feel less thirsty when it’s cold.
- Soak up some sunshine
Grey skies and early sunsets bring on the blues for many people who otherwise have good mental health. Get outside when it’s sunny, or ask your doctor about light therapy as an option for overcoming seasonal sadness.
- Don’t skip the sunscreen
It’s hard to think about sunburn when you’re sporting a parka and flannel-lined jeans, but the sun’s rays are just as harmful when it’s cold. Snow and ice can reflect about 80% of UV rays, increasing the damaging impact of too much sun. Skiers and snowboarders beware: the higher on the slopes you are, the higher your level of exposure.
- Get a flu shot
Vaccination reduces your chance of getting the flu by 70-90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It’s the single best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. (Read Encouraging Employees to Get Flu Shots for other benefits of flu vaccination.)
- Carry hand sanitizer
Can’t get to a sink to wash your hands? Carry hand sanitizer to wipe out germs and protect your family from sickness. A study by Children’s Hospital in Boston followed 292 families and found those who carried hand sanitizer had 59% fewer cases of stomach bugs than those who didn’t!
- Join a gym
If you don’t enjoy hitting the slopes or can’t bear the thought of dodging snow drifts for an outdoor workout, then join a gym to stay fit through winter. Trying a new class or routine can also help beat the winter blues for a happier, healthier season.
For information on creating a healthier workplace this winter, please contact us for a free consultation about the corporate wellness options that may be right for you.