Busy holiday schedules, vacations and stubborn winter colds often bump people off their healthy routines. Nuvance Health wants to help you stay healthy during the cold season with these tips:
Colds and Flu
“All signs point toward a bad cold and flu season, warns Dr. Sejal Parekh, a family medicine doctor at Nuvance Health Medical Practice in the Wilton Wellness Center (249 Danbury Rd). The doctor’s orders? Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza.”
“By getting vaccinated, you protect not only yourself but the people around you who may be very vulnerable to complications, hospitalizations and death,” she said. Even in January, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Flu season can last well into March.
The good news is you can prevent COVID-19 and other nasty viruses the same way.
“Wash your hands frequently, put some distance between you and others, especially if they aren’t feeling well, and wear a mask in public places,” Parekh said.
Aches and Pains
Winters in the Northeast can be hard on the joints. Dr. Jatin Rana explains our natural reaction when we are cold is to tense up. Combat this with layers of clothes, “and cover as much skin as you can,” the family medicine doctor with Nuvance Health Medical Practices said.
Use gloves to prevent finger joints from throbbing. Treat the feet to wool socks with an extra pair for the single-digit-temperature days. Remember to keep moving the body.
“During the winter months, we tend to be less active, which can cause the joints to become stiff and increase pain,” Rana said.
Finally, avoid winter weight gain. Extra fat might keep your body core warmer, but it significantly strains your bones, the doctor said.
Overeating in Winter
Decreased daylight, cold weather and gray skies can bring the “winter blues,” also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With SAD comes an increased risk of overeating. Nuvance Health’s metabolic weight loss specialist, Dr. Stephanie Ortiz Page, said it’s important to discuss any significant mood fluctuations and related poor eating behaviors with your doctor. There are treatments that can help.
Ortiz Page, who practices in Wilton, also recommends these steps:
- Soak in the light. Bundle up and go outside when it’s daylight. And add a bright light in your home or office to increase light exposure.
- Surround yourself with balanced foods: Lean proteins; healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds; non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens; and low glycemic produce, including berries. Just say no to highly processed foods.
- Take up an evening hobby with your family. Lift your spirits with scrapbooking, knitting, painting with watercolors or working on puzzles.
- Stay active! Consider indoor sports. Basketball, tennis, racquetball, online fitness apps and videos and more will help with mood swings, stress and food cravings.
Nuvance Health Medical Practices offers primary care and bariatric medicine at the Wilton Wellness Center office (249 Danbury Rd.) in Wilton, CT, and is affiliated with Norwalk and Danbury hospitals. NHMP doctors provide personalized care that helps you achieve and maintain better health. Search for a doctor and request an appointment online or by calling 203.762.3353.