With colder weather and a busy Holiday Season approaching, there is an opportunity to experience this time of year with good health by following a few simple recommendations for these FIVE risk factors that could affect a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season.
Since cold weather forces people indoors, the close proximity allows viral spread. The dry winter air allows the flu virus to survive and transmit itself. Other viruses including the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the coronavirus and rhinoviruses (common cold) will also spread much easier.
Hand washing and keeping your hands off your face (do not rub eyes) are the simplest methods to avoid “catching” these viruses. CDC recommendations for vaccination protection is also important.
This is the most common respiratory illness that is triggered by cold weather. If you have asthma, consider exercising indoors. When exercising outdoors, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or face warmer to keep from breathing the cold, dry air.
Weight can creep up with a decrease in exercise coupled with rich holiday foods. The best way to combat weight gain; exercise at least 30 minutes several times per week. Try not to binge on holiday sweets. Leave the cookies for Santa!
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes the “winter blues”. These mood changes are attributed to the decrease in sunlight and daylight hours. Some, however, will have depression triggered because of the recent loss of a loved one who will not be physically present for the holidays.
To beat the winter blues, make an effort to get natural sunlight during the day and try to get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Cold mornings with strenuous outdoor activity (so glad we don’t have more opportunities to shovel snow) increases the risk of heart attack if you have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure that is not controlled. Research shows heart attacks are more common and more severe during the winter months.
Dress warmly and cover your head and ears from the elements while outdoors in the cold. Learn and review the tell-tale signs of a heart attack—this could save your or someone’s life!
I hope each of you will enjoy a happy and healthy Holiday Season filled with shared memories made with family and friends.