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Staying healthy during the winter months can be trickier than at other times of the year. When it’s colder outdoors, we tend to spend more time inside and in closer proximity to other people, which can increase the spread of germs. The dry winter air can also lead to irritated nasal passages and increased mucus production, which can turn into sinus infections or sinusitis. All this being said, there are ways you can actively work toward better overall wellness, especially during this time of year, and the following tips are sure to help.

Get Vaccinated

‘Tis the season for viruses, and during COVID times, it’s even more critical than ever to get appropriate vaccines to help combat the spread of viral infections. 

Every year, millions of people get ill with the flu, and thousands even end up hospitalized. For this reason, the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over the age of 6 months. Getting this yearly vaccine can greatly decrease your risk of becoming ill. Learn more about flu prevention on our blog and get the vaccine from your Galen doctor today!

Eager to learn more about whether you can get your COVID-19 vaccine? For current information, visit the Hamilton County Health Department’s website.

Slow the Spread

Here are some other ways to help slow the spread of viruses like the flu, the common cold, and even COVID-19 such as:

  1. Wash your hands frequently to ensure they are germ free.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Wipe down surfaces with sanitizing wipes or cleaners that kill germs.
  4. Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  5. Stay hydrated to help flush toxins out of your system.
  6. Eat healthy foods and get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong.
Make Healthy Choices Daily

Eating a healthy diet can go a long way when it comes to staying well. An ongoing diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and whole grains, can also help you avoid illness in the winter months. If you frequently eat unhealthy foods and don’t get adequate sleep, your immune system can suffer making you more susceptible to illness. 

For many of us, it’s easier to gravitate toward heavier comfort foods when it’s cold outside, or to stay indoors and snack more frequently than we otherwise would. That said, it’s important to be mindful of the impact our food and rest choices have on our bodies, and to gravitate toward healthier lifestyle decisions each day. When we’re intentional about these choices, it’s likely that we will experience fewer instances of illness.

StayActive

Again, shorter days and cold weather may make it more difficult to find motivation for activities like exercise, but staying active is another key component of fostering a healthy immune system that can effectively combat illnesses. Physical activity helps us lose weight if necessary or maintain a healthy one, and can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and even help you sleep better. All of these factors work together to help you stay well. So, consider taking a brisk walk on your lunch hour, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you can, and incorporate activity into your daily life as much as possible. 

Don’t Skip Doctor Appointments

Another important way to stay well during the colder season is to stay on top of your routine doctor visits. You may fear exposure to illness in the process, but avoiding your health screenings and regular check ins with providers could mean putting yourself at a greater risk of health issues. 

Rest assured that our medical providers at Galen are fully equipped and versed in conducting visits in a safe way, using up-to-date protocol to keep staff and patients as safe as possible in the light of current events. Telehealth appointments are another great option for certain types of care, and we are happy to offer that service as well for when it makes most sense. To schedule a telehealth appointment, please contact your Primary Care Provider’s office.

Our team at Galen wants to help support each of our patients and Chattanooga community members on their health journeys, equipping each of you with knowledge and services to help keep you well. Spring will be here before we know it, and it’s our wish that each of us has a safe, happy, and healthy winter of wellness leading up to it.