Yes, you really are more likely to get sick in the winter! But it’s not for the reasons you might think. It has nothing to do with the cold weather. Instead, it’s more about your immune system, your genes and how they’re both affected by seasonal changes. A study published in Nature Communications helps to explain why chronic illnesses might be worse for you in the winter even though your white bloods cells ramp up to fight infection in colder months.
You can’t change your genes, but you can change some bad habits and add a few good ones to improve your chances of staying healthy this winter. Start with some old fashioned common sense. Eat well, exercise, get enough rest and avoid alcohol and tobacco. Then consider these others ways you can prevent winter illnesses from attacking your immune system:
Get a flu shot. If you plan to work in healthcare, you’ll probably be required to get an influenza shot.1 Sure it’s about keeping you healthy so you can do your important job. But it’s even more about not spreading any illness you may have to your patients with compromised health. You want to help your patients, not harm them.
Wash your hands –a lot. The easiest and most effective way to stay healthy is to wash your hands. Studies have shown that regular, thorough hand-washing reduces infections, illnesses and trips to the doctor.2 When you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer.
Take a multivitamin.3 You try to eat right, but sometimes it’s really hard. When you can’t follow up with your good intentions, have a backup plan. Add a multivitamin to your routine to ensure your body has what it needs to stay healthy and fight disease. Find one that offers 100% of recommended daily values of important vitamins like A, B6, B12, C, and D and such minerals as calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.
De-stress. Did you know that stress can cause you to get sick? Your Sympathetic Nervous System Response, also known as the Fight-or-Flight response is designed to kick in when your brain senses danger. Your glands, hormones, muscles and nerves all ramp up to take protective action. When you stay in this stressed-out mode too long, your body becomes overly taxed and less able to do its job well when it really needs to. Take time to relax, have some fun and maybe even get a massage. Your body will thank you.
Stay healthy and you’ll be better able to do a great job at home, work and school. If you’re looking for careers helping others stay healthy, check out all the healthcare programs at Career Quest Learning Centers. Give us a call today in Jackson at 877-365-8144 or in Lansing at 877-481-4930 to learn more.