Summer fades. The leaves change colors and fall to the ground. Soon, the land is covered with snow. As the winter months are approaching, it is time again for seniors to take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy. Winter can be challenging because our time spent outside is reduced significantly, and travel is tougher with snow and ice. Here are ways to stay healthy and safe during the winter months.
1. Skin Care
The cold, dry air surrounding us dries out the skin, causing It to crack. This is most commonly seen on the lips and the hands. One of the best routines you can form is to keep your skin hydrated with lotion each day. For your lips, avoid licking them as this can make the chapping and cracking worst. Apply a medicated lip balm every few hours to help keep your lips moisturized.
It’s important to drink enough fluids year-round, especially when illnesses are more prevalent, such as in the winter. The goal for proper hydration is to drink 64 ounces of water per day. It may be helpful to keep a reusable water bottle with you to sip on throughout the day. Proper hydration has several health benefits, including joint lubrication, skin health, and body temperature regulation. Adequate hydration can also aid in constipation relief. For all these reasons and more, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also increase water consumption by eating water-rich foods, such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, strawberries and oranges, to name a few. Drinking skim milk and eating soups or broths are other great ways to stay hydrated.
3. Flu Shot
Staying up to date on all recommended vaccines is a great way to protect your body. Confirm that you are current on all vaccines and book an appointment to get your flu shot. The flu can cause severe complications and even be fatal, especially in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The flu shot is your best protection against the flu. If you get the flu while vaccinated, it is very likely your illness will not be as severe as it would have been if you were not vaccinated.
4. Hand Hygiene
Washing your hands is a critical step in staying healthy because it removes germs and prevents the spread of germs. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, lathering soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, in between your fingers and under your fingernails, too. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or car so that you can disinfect your hands after visits to the store or doctor’s office or any other time when you do not have immediate access to running water. Wash your hands regularly, especially after contact with others, going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, touching garbage or preparing food.
5. Layer Up
If you are going outside, be sure to dress in layers to stay warm. Wear a hat that covers your ears, a scarf and gloves to help keep heat in your body. Wear boots or shoes with proper traction to help prevent falls. Do not try to shovel or salt your driveway, especially if you live alone.
6. Get Moving
It can be dangerous to try to exercise outside in the snow and ice. Ask your family members or friends to go with you to an indoor walking track or pool. This is a great way to stay moving during the winter months. It can also be a wonderful bonding time with your loved ones while you all get some exercise in. Spending quality time with family and friends can boost mood and have a positive effect on overall health.
The winter months can be tricky because sometimes you feel trapped inside. It is a great time to build puzzles, play games or read books, all of which can help your brain function and thinking skills. If you feel lonely, call a friend or family member. Take care of your body and mind by being proactive. These tips can help keep you healthier this winter!
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