We’re approaching September’s end, and that means winter is not far around the corner. If you live in a warmer part of the country, you may not care about the changing seasons. For most US states, though, we’re not far from freezing rain, sleet, and heavy snowfalls.
This has been an exceedingly tough year, with the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, a presidential election dominating the news cycle, and catastrophic wildfires. People want to avoid getting sick on top of all that.
There are ways you can behave that should help you stay healthy as we move into the colder months. Read on to learn what those are.
Get a Flu Shot
For some people, winter means preparing for winter driving by putting on their snow tires. Others think more about hot chocolate and picking out the perfect Christmas sweater.
However, one thing everyone should do to protect themselves this year is to get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot:
- Protects you from flu bugs that people pass around
- Is usually free with most insurance plans
Some pharmacies provide free flu shots even for those without insurance. It’s always critical that you get a flu shot, but this year it’s more vital than ever. That’s because there’s still the coronavirus to worry about, and we don’t want to overwhelm hospitals with both flu and Covid-19 patients.
Don’t Forget About Covid-19
Speaking of the pandemic, that is the next point we need to emphasize. It’s not over, much as we’d like to wish it was.
You should continue doing the things you have been since we first learned about Covid-19. That includes:
- Wearing masks when you go outside or you’re visiting people
- Staying a minimum of six feet away from others
- Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer
Outbreaks are still happening all over the country, often when people let down their guard. You might feel like you’re out of danger, but if you catch it, you could still pass it on to someone else, like an older family member with a compromised immune system.
Stock Up on Salt
Another thing you can do to remain healthy is to stock up on rock salt to salt your driveway when it snows. Depending on how much snow your area usually gets, you might want to have several bags of it on hand. You can keep it in the garage or basement.
When there’s snow and ice on the ground, your steps and driveway might present a significant danger. If you’re ready with rock salt and a shovel, you can de-ice the path to your vehicle and sidewalk, and there’s much less danger of you falling and hurting yourself.
If you’re an older adult, you might try to get a younger relative or neighbor to do this for you. You do not want to hurt your back shoveling salt.
You might hire a young neighborhood person to do it if there is no one else available. They will probably be glad of the chance to earn some money.
Stock Up on Vitamin C and Cold Medicine
You might also plan a trip to the store to get some Vitamin C and cold medicines. You can often fight off a cold with a vitamin mega-dose, and there are products like Emergen-C that don’t cost very much. You can get it as a powdered drink mix, or they also have pills available now in some cases.
You can also get some Dayquil and Nyquil to have that ready for you if you catch a cold. You can often get a pack that contains both together.
It’s best to have these things on hand before you get sick rather than waiting for it to happen. That way, you can start taking them and fighting your illness immediately. If you don’t want to go to the store to get them, you can also order them online from an entity like Amazon or a similar marketplace.
Wear Appropriate Clothing When You Go Outside
It also helps if you wear appropriate clothing when you go outside in cold weather. Maybe you enjoy going outdoors with your kids or other young relatives to build snowmen or have a snowball fight. Perhaps you want to do an outdoor event like ice skating or ice fishing when the weather is right.
It’s not just an old wife’s tale that you can get sick if you don’t bundle up against the cold. If you go out in subzero temperatures and you don’t wear a heavy parka, balaclava, scarf, gloves, etc., then you make it much more likely you’ll catch a chill.
If you’re younger, you can probably fight it off more easily, but if you’re an older adult, the cold weather and an accompanying sickness are not trifling matters.
Don’t Shake Hands with Anyone
If you’re following Covid-19 and flu guidelines, you’ll avoid getting too close to anyone else anyway. Still, it’s worth repeating that you shouldn’t shake anyone’s hand this winter.
If you encounter someone for the first time or you’re seeing an old friend, give them an air high five or an air handshake.
You might feel silly about doing it, but you exchange more germs with people through handshakes than with just about anything else you do. If someone is sick, and they shake your hand, then the next thing you know, you might touch your nose or mouth. Humans touch their faces nearly every minute, and often, they’re not even aware of it.
You should always follow these guidelines, but at a time when the pandemic continues to ravage America, you need to be extra cautious. You don’t want to face an overwhelmed hospital system if you do happen to fall ill and need urgent medical attention.
If all of us do our part concerning winter illness, then we should enjoy the cold weather. Perhaps by spring, there will be a vaccine, and we can ease some of these restrictions a little.