Baby, it’s cold outside
Winter has arrived in all of its blustery fury and, as the classic song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside!”
Keep the chills away – both the cold-weather and feverish type – with five simple tips for staying healthy until spring arrives.
- Mom was right: Regular hand-washing goes a long way toward chasing away colds and flu. But did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about the process? According to the Centers for Disease Control, washing hands the right way means wetting them with running water and soaping up for a minimum of 20 seconds before rinsing and drying with a clean towel. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60 percent.
- Keep things light – as in bright and well-lit – to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. It’s a condition that’s also known as winter depression because it generally disappears when the snow melts and spring leaves appear. If you’re among the 10 million Americans with a bad case of the winter blues, it may be caused by shorter days and lack of sunlight.1 Bundle up and seek the sun or consider purchasing a special lamp that emulates sunshine
- Toss your toothbrush if you’ve been ill. Germs can hide in the bristles, leading to reinfection after a cold, the flu, a mouth infection or a sore throat. Even if you haven’t been sick, fungus and bacteria can develop in the bristles of your toothbrush, giving you another reason to change your toothbrush regularly.
- Decrease your odds of a serious winter illness by getting a flu shot. Many employers offer them to workers free of charge as part of their wellness programs, and others provide insurance that allows workers to be vaccinated free or for a nominal charge.
- Be prepared for cold and flu season. WebMD recommends stocking your medicine cabinet with the medicines you use, such as pain relievers, fever reducers and decongestants. Don’t forget tissues, and make sure your thermometer works. At the supermarket, load up on fluids, herbal tea and comfort foods such as chicken soup.
1 Psychology Today, "Seasonal Affective Disorder," accessed Nov. 21, 2103 -http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder