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Keeping Your Family Healthy This Winter

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When the coronavirus began taking a front seat in our lives in March 2020, who really believed we would still be wearing masks and social distancing nine months later?  Everything in our lives is disrupted, from going to the grocery store to even attending funerals of those we love.  The uncertainty contributes to our stress. Now, as we enter winter are competing with symptoms of the flu and other respiratory illnesses that show up predominately in the winter.  So, how can we manage this season and ensure our families are healthy?  According to the AARP and Center for Disease Control here are a few suggestions:

  1. Get a flu shot. Each year’s vaccine introduces three to four inactive strains of influenza, which spur your body to create antibodies against a real virus. In a four-year study from New Zealand, flu shots reduced influenza ICU admissions by 82 percent.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is crucial to immune system health, but when the days grow shorter, lack of daylight can mess with your sleep-wake cycle.
  3. Turn on the humidifier. Viruses linger longer in dry air. A Mayo Clinic study of preschools found that students in non-humidified rooms were 2.3 times more likely to come down with flu-like symptoms than students in humidified rooms were airborne viruses join heavier droplets and fall to the ground.
  4. Get fresh air. Fresh air is essential to healing and restoration. During the winter we tend to stay indoors. Fresh air also supplies our immune systems with the oxygen it needs to slaughter and decimate microbes, infections, and germs.
  5. Cut Stress. Stress is a huge contributor to weakening one’s immune system. Consider taking up yoga, meditation, going for walks or mindfulness training. Gardening, painting journaling or other hobbies can work – anything that can force us to disconnect from the realities of navigating a pandemic.

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