By Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
February is right in the thick of winter. Cold weather, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, is making it more difficult to participate in outdoor activities. Many are finding that their health is taking a back seat, but we must all find ways to remain healthy and strong amid the pandemic. Here are five tips to boost your health throughout the remainder of winter:
Eat healthy and exercise.
What you eat and the level of exercise you get are directly correlated with the strength of your immune system, and a strong immune system is essential during COVID-19. Be sure to stick to a nutrient-rich diet with lots of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Couple this with as much exercise as you can, and your body will be primed to help fight off viruses and infections.
Vaccinations are a proven method of boosting your body’s immune system and protecting yourself from viruses or other infections. Be sure to get your annual flu vaccine, and once available to you, be sure to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination can play a major role in protecting yourself from becoming sick.
Clean your hands regularly.
A little over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable that you may be tired of hearing experts tell you to wash your hands. With that said, handwashing — often and thoroughly — is an effective strategy to avoid becoming sick from a whole host of viruses and bugs. So, every chance you get, wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Take care of your skin.
The cold weather can leave you with dry, cracking or flaking skin. Occasionally, this can lead to eczema. To keep your skin healthy this winter, be sure to drink plenty of water, use sunscreen whenever you are in direct sunlight and moisturize your skin every day with a high-quality lotion or ointment.
Don’t skip your primary care visits.
During the winter months, the temptation to put off routine primary care visits in favor of hibernation may take over. Don’t give in to this temptation. It is essential that you and your family continue with your regular primary care visits in order to stay up-to-date with recommended screenings and to ensure you are in top health.
This has been a year unlike any we have experienced before. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything we do on a daily basis. The one thing we can’t allow to change is our determination to remain healthy throughout the winter months.