Keeping yourself safe and healthy during winter
Safety is important year-round. Due to some of the unique hazards that the weather in the Pacific Northwest poses, winter is especially critical. Whether it’s accidents, illnesses, or something else, you need to be vigilant about your health. With the right preparations and a good health care team backing you up, you can make this winter a success.
An apple a day
Your body is like a machine, and all machines require fuel. Consider the consequences of putting diesel into a gasoline engine. Now think about what would happen if you kept using low-quality food to fuel your body. Here are some common sense nutrition tips.
- Fruits and vegetables: Unprocessed plant foods tend to be a good source of fiber, which promotes a feeling of fullness so you can go without snacking between meals. It also promotes digestive regularity. Fiber can even lower your cholesterol and help you to manage your blood sugar. Levels vary by food, but whole grains and beans are usually fantastic choices.
- Reduced Calories: With the shorter days and colder weather of the winter season, many folks opt to skip their morning or evening jogs. IF you don’t make up for this by exercising indoors, then you need to adjust your calorie count accordingly. Say you burn 300 calories a day with your workout. If you don’t adjust your caloric intake to match it, you gain a pound every 10 days, adding up to 9 pounds over the course of the whole season.
- Vitamins and Minerals: If your doctor has you on vitamin supplements, continue to take them. Other than these supplements, you can get your daily recommended minmum amount of specific nutrients through fruits and veggies. Make sure to research which foods are high in what you need.
Your emotional state can affect your physical well-being, and vice versa. When winter comes it’s not uncommon for locals to get seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This condition causes depression and other symptoms. In Alaska and Canada sufferers can use special types of lamps that mimic the natural light of the sun. Regular expsoure to these devices is often effective at warding off the effects of SAD.
Accidents and injuries are just as much of a hazard as illnesses. In the winter this problem gets compounded by the season. Consider some conditions that can lead to accidents.
- Darkness: Since the sun sets so early visibility is severely limited. It goes down well before most people get off work at the end of the day, you’re likely on the road in low light. When driving, make sure that all of your vehicle’s lights are in good working order, including your brights. If you’re walking or cycling, assume that no one can see you without their lights on. Always wear a high-visibility vest, plus a helmet with reflective strips. This catches the attention of drivers so you.
- Slipping Hazards: Layers of ice and snow are slipping hazards. They can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, or you can fall down while walking over ice. Even if you’re careful and don’t fall, simply stabilizing yourself while walking over a slick surface can cause you to tear a muscle. To prevent these sorts of accidents at home make sure to sprinkle a melting compound over your driveway, stairs and walkways. If you’re driving be sure to put on your chains or snow tires when they’re in effect.
- Cold Weather: Did you know that frostbite isn’t something that only happens during expeditions to the polar regions? You can get frostbite and hypothermia if you venture out without sufficient protection. Make sure to always bundle up whenever you go outside. Proper gear includes a coat and scarf at the very least, but gloves and earmuffs are also useful for protecting your extremities.
No other season is as closely associated with getting sick as is winter. Whether it’s colds, the flu or something else, this is the time of year when bugs get passed around. You don’t have to be a victim. There are steps you can take to minimize contact.
- Hand Washing: It’s simple, it’s fast and it’s effective. Wash your hands whenever you shake hands with someone, sneze, cough, or use the restroom. Make sure to wash your hands before and after handling food in the kitchen, too.
- Stay Inside: If you are sick already, quarantine yourself. It’s not fun to have to stay home and miss work, but you run the risk of exposing your workmates to sickness. Would you rather miss one or two days of work or go to work, infect the rest of your team and have to cover for them, while sick, when they stay home?
- Vaccinate: It’s important to get your flu shot. The virus mutates every season, so you have to update the vaccine every year. Make sure to talk to your doctor first just to double check that you’re not allergic to the flue vaccine.
Get help when you need it
Despite your best efforts, bad things happen sometimes. If you find yourself hurting or sick, don’t fret. The Westcare Clinic is your one stop health care provider. When your primary care physician is booked and you have an urgent condition, we’re ready to see you. Our doors are open late to help with nighttime injuries and sickness. The team includes professional, trained and compassionate nurses, doctors and receptionists who treat you with the dignity you deserve.
The Westcare Clinic urgent care facilities are set up to handle most bumps and bruises; anything short of an immediate life-threatening emergency. For that you go to the ER. For anything else, let us take care of you. We take various insurance and our rates are affordable.Your well-being is your own top priority, and it happens to be ours, too. There’s no excuse not to feel your best this winter season. Give the Westcare Clinic a visit as soon as possible to ensure that you get the treatment you need.