The holiday season has ended. Festivities, parties, family visits, shopping and over-indulging on food and drink are over. Flu and the common cold are just some of the post-holiday illnesses that can keep you from enjoying the rest of the winter. Now, after all that stimulation, here are a few simple tips to help you stay healthy and illness-free.
1. Avoid consuming too many sweets. Whether it is the holidays or not, consuming sugary foods and beverages increases your chances of getting an infection. Sugar can increase inflammation and lower your ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. Give your body a break, now that the holiday sweets are gone, and find alternatives to satiate your cravings.
2. Hydrate. The cold weather can mess with your water cravings, and most people do not feel thirsty during cold days, which can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink water regularly throughout the day.
3. Do not touch your face. Let’s face it; we can never keep our hands a hundred percent clean all the time. Harmful bacteria from surfaces you lay your hands, and if you are not careful enough, you might be touching your eyes, nose, and other parts of the face. Bacteria breed in your mucous membranes enabling it to reach your system and making you sick. Wash your hands often, or take a hand sanitizer with you when you can’t wash your hands.
4. Get the flu shot. The Sunshine team and the CDC encourage you and your family to get the flu shot. This added protection can help you bounce back in health and make the number of uncomfortable sick days much shorter, giving you time to do other tasks in the new year. Getting the flu shot doesn’t mean you will never get a cold, so regular washing of hands and practice of good hygiene are still important.
5. Stay away from sick people. Although it is impossible to isolate yourself from people with a contagious illness like the flu, you can still lower your risks of exposure by avoiding crowded places like public transportation or going to the supermarket and wash your hands as often as possible.
6. Stay active. The cold can make people stay indoors, but do not let it keep you from getting your regular exercise. Bundle up and go for a walk or join one of the exercise groups at the local community centers. If you make regular trips to the lower valley consider a gym membership or open swim sessions at the Wasilla or Palmer High pools. If scheduling or transportation keep you from one of those options, you can still exercise at home. Log onto YouTube and find instruction for simple stretching, a cardio routine or yoga exercises. There is no reason for you to stay inactive this season.
7. Eat more fruits and vegetables. This time of year, it is common for people to go on a diet to shed those holiday pounds. Instead of restricting your calories, try to focus more on eating high quality, nutritional foods and less sugar for a healthier post-holiday season.