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Managing Your Health Ahead of Winter

Managing Your Health Ahead of Winter

6  Wellness Tips for a Healthier Winter

As the weather gets colder and winter approaches, it's important to start thinking about how to take care of your health.

At St. John's Health, we’re dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of our Jackson Hole community all year round. There are a few simple things you can do to make sure you stay healthy throughout the winter — and you can start now before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

1. Get vaccinated.

First, it's important to get a flu shot. The flu can be serious, and even deadly, so it's best to be as protected as possible. You can get a flu shot at your doctor's office, Teton County Health Department, or at many local pharmacies.

What to Do if You Have the Flu, COVID-19, or a Seasonal Cold

There are some similarities between allergies and seasonal illnesses. Both can cause runny noses, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing. However, there are also some key differences.

Winter illnesses such as the flu, pneumonia, or COVID-19 are more likely to cause severe symptoms like body aches and fatigue, which are less common with allergies. If you're unsure whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or an illness, it's always best to avoid caution and see a doctor. Some cases of allergies or seasonal illnesses require immediate medical attention. If you notice these symptoms, seek emergency care as soon as possible:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Lips or fingernails turn blue.
  • Swelling of your eyes and throat.
  • High fever (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms last longer than a week.

2. Focus on your diet.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help boost your immune system. As the weather gets colder, it's important to make sure you're eating plenty of immunity-boosting foods. Here are a few to add to your winter diet:

  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are all great for boosting immunity. They're packed with vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
  • Dark leafy greens: Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are all excellent choices. They're full of vitamins and minerals that help keep the immune system strong.
  • Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is another great source of Vitamin C. It also contains antioxidants that help fight off infection.
  • Garlic: This fragrant herb has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off bacteria and viruses.
  • Ginger: Ginger is a great way to add some flavor to your food while also getting some health benefits. It's been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and can also help settle an upset stomach.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. Gut health is important for immunity, so make sure to include yogurt in your diet this winter.

These are just a few of the many foods that can help boost your immunity this winter. Add them to your diet and enjoy the health benefits!

3. Avoid dehydration.

Studies have shown that people tend to become more dehydrated in the winter months. There are a few reasons for this. First, the air is drier in winter, which can lead to dehydration. Second, we tend to drink less water when it's cold out because we don't feel as thirsty. And finally, many people turn to caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea to warm up, which can also contribute to dehydration.

So what can you do to stay hydrated in the winter? First, make sure you're drinking enough water throughout the day. Eight glasses a day is a good rule of thumb, but you may need more or less depending on your activity level and the temperature outside. Second, consider investing in a humidifier to help add moisture to the air in your home. And finally, cut back on caffeinated drinks if you find that they make you feel dehydrated.

4. Boost your immunity with movement.

Finally, it's important to stay active. Exercise helps boost your immune system, and it's also a great way to combat the winter blues.

Here are a few tips for staying active this winter:

  • Take advantage of indoor spaces. If it's too cold to go outside, there are plenty of great indoor options for exercise. Check out your local gym or community center for workout classes or open gym times.
  • Get a group together. Exercising with friends or family can make it more enjoyable and motivating. Make plans to go for walks or hikes together, or try a new group fitness class.
  • Find some winter gear. Investing in some quality cold-weather gear can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying being outdoors. Make sure you have a good pair of gloves, a hat, and a warm coat to keep you comfortable while you're being active.

5. Schedule doctor’s appointments before the year ends.

As we approach New Year’s, many patients remember to take advantage of their health benefits before they reset. If you haven’t had your annual physical or other routine health screenings, remember to take the time to get something on the calendar. There are many benefits to having an annual physical, including being able to:

  • Discuss your family history [1] and health concerns you may have with your doctor.
  • Determine if you need additional screening.
  • Update immunizations  and medications
  • Build a relationship with your doctor

6. Take care of your mental health.

The colder months can be a hard time for many of us — from feeling isolated with more time indoors or feeing lonely during the holidays. On top of this, some patients may experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD)[2]. Seasonal depression is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year, linked to less sunlight exposure during winter. The lack of sunlight can disrupt the body's natural circadian rhythm, which can lead to feelings of sadness, fatigue, and low energy.

If you believe you are struggling with SAD or chronic depression, it's essential to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for seasonal depression, including light therapy, medication, and counseling. Making lifestyle changes can also help manage seasonal depression, including:

  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Spending time outdoors every day.
  • Practicing meditation or relaxation techniques.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs, which tends to increase near the holidays.

Managing Your Health at St. John's Health

At St. John's Health, our team offers a wide range of services to help you manage your health and take preventative care of your family. To find your family's physician, visit our website today.