6 Tips For A Healthy Winter

Dec. 7, 2023

woman walking beside lake on frost covered ground with dog Hover image

A lot changes during the colder months of the year. Your health does too. It is important to change some habits to stay healthy while it is cold outside. 

Prepare for cold weather 

Winter storms can create dangerous circumstances. Everyone should have an emergency plan. You should be ready to take care* of yourself and your family for up to three days, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Make sure you have an emergency kit with a first-aid kit. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends preparing your home and vehicles* for winter. 

Limit the spread of germs 

Cold and flu season coincides with the winter months as people spend more time inside. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. 

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot* every year. Many employers offer on-site flu clinics. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) offers a list of flu clinics* across South Carolina. 

If you are sick, stay at home. You should be fever free for 24 hours without a fever-reducing medicine. Limit contact with people who are sick. 

Drink plenty of water 

It may not be 100 degrees outside, but it is still important to drink water* in the winter. If you aren’t sweating, you might forget to drink water. 

Minor dehydration can cause difficulty concentrating, poor memory and bad moods. Studies have also linked poor hydration to diabetes. 

Women should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses and men should have 12 8-ounce glasses of water per day. 

Still get outside 

Being outdoors has many health benefits*. Even when it is cold, try to squeeze in time in the sunshine. People need vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. 

Experts suggest about five to 30 minutes of sun exposure* daily or a few times a week will give you enough exposure. 

Building a daily walking habit can be a good way to fit in physical activity and get the health benefits of being outdoors. There are plenty of ways to explore South Carolina even in the colder months. 

Stay rested 

Sleep is important for overall health. A lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Keep a consistent sleep routine to let your body fully recover. 

The CDC recommends seven or more hours of sleep per night for most adults between ages 18 and 60. Children need more sleep.

Find joy 

The short days and cold weather can be a bummer for your mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that happens regularly during the year. It is OK not to be OK, but it is important to know the symptoms. 

These symptoms are more common in SAD than in other forms of depression:

  • Carbohydrate cravings 
  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Weight gain

Make sure you are taking time to treat yourself and care for your own well-being. Practicing mindfulness can help combat stress and other mental health disorders. 

Seek help when you need it. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina members can call the number on the back of their insurance card for help. 

*These links lead to third-party websites. These organizations are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

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