Studies show that there is a spike in winter colds, flus and other illnesses that aren’t as common in the spring and summer. Even more studies show that it’s not the temperature that’s the main factor: it’s being inside around others. Breathing, sneezing, talking and more can send germs into the air that then make people sick quickly. However, those who have better diets and practice specific habits can stay healthy enough to fight off viruses.
Nobody likes to be sick. They like it even less during the holidays. However, fall and especially winter can be the hardest times to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 80,000 people in the U.S. died last year (2017) just from the flu. That’s not including other viruses that can be incredibly damaging to the body.
How common are flus and colds? Take a look:
You put yourself at risk not only for the cold or flu, but for chronic conditions, diseases and other illnesses if you’re not taking care of your body. Some of the largest factors of a poor immune system have to do with your diet and your sleep quality. Sleep is so vital to the body’s recooperation each night that we spend about 1/3rd of our lives sleeping. This is a time for the body to repair itself, clear the brain and cells of toxins, to store memories and to make antibodies to fight off illness.
Adults need to have between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Teens need 10 or more and children need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Infants (and especially newborns) may sleep up to 14-17 hours depending on age. Without that sleep, your body’s immune system function will be significantly lower. You could literally avoid an illness by sleeping properly.
Diet is also important, as poor nutrition makes your immune system weak. You get the best nutrients from a diet full of fruits, veggies, protein, whole grain, dairy and low sugar. Replace processed foods with health foods and use a vitamin supplement, if needed. If you struggle with your diet, ask about our nutritional assessments and diet counseling. We can help you stay healthy and avoid weight gain and illnesses with professional dieting guidelines.
If you have a young child, make sure you monitor their health closely. Infants should be seen by a doctor if they are less than a year old, and especially if they are 3 months or younger and sick. Be especially careful with the flu and an infant, as they can get seriously dehydrated quickly. Adults over 65 also need to be careful with their symptoms and their health with the flu and viruses that make you very sick.
Use these tips to reduce you or your child’s risk for sickness:
Sometimes it feels like you’re doing all that you can, and still you end up sick over and over during the fall and winter. It can be hard going through that cycle, especially when there are young kids in the home that have contact with other kids. Some viruses will hit all members of the family, while other times will only show one person getting sick. It all depends on the immunities you already have, plus how well you take care of your body. Following the tips we listed above can help you avoid sickness as much as possible. Vaccinations for the flu can also help you avoid sickness, but the decision to get a vaccine or not depends on a person’s beliefs.
Start with our suggestions if you want to stay healthy this season. If you still find yourself getting sick often, let us help you get your body to the healthiest point possible. There could be a nutrient deficiency, chronic condition or sleep problem you are not aware of that raises your risk for sickness. To have your health evaluation, call Back2Health today at (843) 405-0025!