CareNow® - December 18, 2023

There’s no denying that winter is an especially magical time of year. Between cooler weather and the holidays, there’s plenty to look forward to. But winter is also notorious for its health challenges, from the flu to colds and respiratory infections. 

Cold weather can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to illnesses, making it even more important to prioritize well-being this time of year. 

From practicing good hygiene and boosting your immune system with a nutrient-rich diet to staying active despite the chilly weather, there are various ways to fortify your defenses against winter illness. 

We’re diving into practical tips and insights to help you avoid getting sick in the winter so you can make the most of the winter wonderland without compromising your health.

How to avoid getting sick in winter

Winter brings an increased risk of illnesses like the flu, colds, and respiratory infections. To protect your health during the colder months, consider adopting these preventive measures. And don’t skip the flu shot this year either!

Practice good hygiene

Regular handwashing is a cornerstone of preventing the spread of germs. Be sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When that's not possible, use hand sanitizers to minimize the risk of infection.

Boost your immune system

Nourish your body with a well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that strengthen your immune system and enhance its ability to combat winter infections effectively. Consider incorporating immune-boosting foods such as citrus fruits, leafy greens, and nuts into your meals.

Stay active

Regular exercise is crucial for overall health, especially during winter when outdoor activities may decrease. Engage in winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or brisk walks. Physical activity not only keeps your body in peak condition but also boosts your immune system, reducing the likelihood you’ll experience any common winter illnesses.

What can I do to stay healthy in winter?

There are several ways you focus on your health during the winter months to help yourself stay healthy. Avoiding illness in winter involves adopting a holistic approach to wellness. Here are just a few ways you can prioritize your well-being during the cold weather months.

  • Stay Hydrated: Cold weather can contribute to dehydration. Make sure you’re drinking an appropriate amount of water to keep your body hydrated. Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system, which is essential to fight off sickness.
  • Prioritize Sleep: A good night's sleep can prevent a host of illnesses, and it’s critical for a strong immune system. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your body's ability to fend off illnesses and promote overall wellness.
  • Dress Warmly: Protect yourself from the cold by dressing in layers. Pay special attention to keeping your head, hands, and feet warm, as these areas are more susceptible to temperature-related illnesses. Proper clothing is vital in preventing cold-related health issues and ensuring comfort during winter.

By integrating these habits into your winter routine, you can enhance your overall health and build resilience against immunity challenges associated with the colder months.

Should I get a flu shot?

Getting a flu shot is a proactive step in preventing the flu. The flu vaccine is a crucial tool in reducing the severity and duration of the illness, with recent studies revealing that it can minimize your risk of flu by as much as 60%.

Even more, those who did get the flu shot but ended up getting sick had a 26% lower risk of ending up in the intensive care unit (ICU) and a 31% lower risk of death from the flu than those who were not vaccinated.

If you’re ready to add an extra layer of protection against the flu this winter, CareNow offers convenient flu shots for just $20 — the perfect way to make sure you're protected throughout the winter. 

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How to avoid getting a cold

Ever wonder why you’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months? A recent study showed that even dropping the temperature inside your nose by as little as 9 degrees Fahrenheit can remove nearly half of the bacteria-fighting cells and viruses that live there.

Because of this, you must be even more diligent about your health in the colder months. Colds can be avoided by implementing a variety of preventive measures. Limiting close contact with anyone exhibiting cold symptoms is key to reducing the risk of transmission. 

Additionally, maintaining cleanliness is crucial — regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces in both your home and workplace to minimize exposure to cold-causing viruses. 

Enhancing your vitamin intake, particularly vitamin C, can play a pivotal role in fortifying your immune system against colds. Consider incorporating foods rich in vitamin C into your diet. 

By adopting these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of catching a cold during the winter months.

Does Vitamin C help with colds?

Vitamin C plays a role in mitigating the impact of colds. While it does not prevent the common cold, evidence suggests that it can reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms. 

Incorporating vitamin C-rich foods into your diet is a proactive measure to enhance your immune system's resilience. The best way to increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet is by consuming more fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Maintaining good health during the winter requires a proactive approach. Adopting healthy habits, considering a flu shot, and ensuring proper vitamin intake are crucial steps. CareNow® is here to support your winter wellness journey. Whether you need a flu shot or assistance with winter illnesses, our clinics are ready to provide quality care.

If you find yourself or your family member under the weather this winter, consider visiting your local CareNow® location. We’ve got more than 225 locations throughout the country — each open after hours and on the weekend.

Prepare for your visit by utilizing our convenient Web Check-In® feature, allowing you to wait comfortably at home and streamlining your experience. Find all the information you need and easily locate the nearest clinic on our website.

We're proud to share that CareNow® has earned the prestigious designation of an Accredited Urgent Care Center by the Urgent Care Association (UCA). This recognition highlights our unwavering dedication to providing top-notch patient care, ensuring your health is in capable hands when you need it most.

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