For many, fall is a great time of year. Hoodie weather is upon us, the sounds of leaves are crunching underfoot, and the joy of picking seasonal fruit are just some of the best parts about the season. Unfortunately, fall also means that cold and flu season will shortly be upon us. Runny noses, fevers and coughing will soon become rampant across many parts of the U.S.
Thankfully, you can take this opportunity during the change of seasons to change some habits that will help make your fall season a healthy one. Here are 9 tips to making sure this autumn is your happiest and healthiest yet.
1) Indulge in some fall superfoods.
Fall is the ideal time of year to enjoy some hearty veggies that are chock-full of healthy stuff. Sweet potatoes and carrots are high in antioxidants that help support the immune system. Other foods in season, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and apples, contain a lot of vitamin C for immune support, as well.
Also, let’s not forget the ultimate symbol of fall: the pumpkin. Pumpkin is rich in vitamins A and C, which is perfect for helping the immune system out. The seeds also contain phytosterols, a type of molecule that may help lower your cholesterol.
2) Enjoy more garlic and onion.
Garlic and onions are full of allicin, a natural compound that may help your body fight off infections and bacteria. It is also what gives garlic its odor and may be responsible for many of its other known health benefits, such as helping to keep the heart healthy.
3) Include more vitamin D in your diet.
Like vitamin C, vitamin D also plays a large role in keeping the immune system bolstered (as well as your bones), but your body may produce less because there’s less sunlight during fall and winter. Speak to your physician about taking vitamin D supplements.
4) Wash your hands.
This may seem self-explanatory—and you should be doing it all the time—but during this particular time of year, washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap will help to keep viruses and bacteria at bay.
5) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Yes, this is a lot harder than it sounds, but it does keep germs on surfaces from spreading to your insides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
6) Get your flu shot.
Contrary to popular belief (which keeps many from getting the vaccine), the flu shot does not give you the flu. It is, however, one of your best defenses against the specific flu strain for the year. It also helps to keep those who cannot receive the flu shot from becoming infected—such as those who are immunocompromised or infants—through herd immunity.
7) Stay hydrated.
Keeping yourself hydrated helps to keep germs away and your skin and kidneys healthy. Also, good hydration before getting sick is good in the event you (or your child) are too tired or too ill to drink, allowing your body to rely on reserves. This can also help avoid needing intravenous fluids during illness.
8) Get a good night’s rest.
Resting helps your body and its functions to recharge, including your immune system. If possible, avoid staying up too late or getting up too early.
9) Stay home when you’re ill.
Again, it is understood that this is much easier said than done (especially when sick days are so coveted), but staying home to rest will help you recover faster and keep you from sharing your germs with your coworkers and schoolmates.
If you need help keeping you and your family healthy this season or want additional information, contact the specialists at Garden State Medical Group today!