Emily McFalls, FNP, WNCCHS —McDowell Health Center
As the temperature drops and winter settles in, it's essential to keep our immune systems strong to ward off those pesky seasonal bugs. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I have some simple yet helpful tips to help support your family's immune health during the chilly months.
Nutrition Matters: Fuel Your Defenses
A well-balanced diet is key. Encourage a rainbow of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Think oranges for vitamin C, leafy greens for vitamin E, and colorful veggies for a range of nutrients. Incorporating probiotics found in yogurt or fermented foods can also benefit the gut and immune system.
Get Moving: Exercise for Immunity
Staying active isn't just for warm weather. Bundle up and head outdoors for a family walk or engage in indoor activities like dance parties or yoga. Exercise boosts circulation and immune cell function, helping to keep illnesses at bay.
Sleep, the Ultimate Healer
Adequate sleep is a superhero for the immune system. Ensure everyone in the family, kids and adults alike, gets sufficient rest. Stick to consistent bedtimes and create a relaxing bedtime routine to promote quality sleep.
Hydration: Nourish with Water
In the dry winter air, it's easy to forget to drink water. Hydration keeps mucous membranes moist, which helps prevent germs from entering the body. Encourage sipping water throughout the day, herbal teas, and warm soups.
Manage Stress: Relaxation Techniques
Stress weakens the immune system. Encourage relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or even reading together as a family. It's a great way to unwind and boost overall wellness.
Consider Supplements Wisely
Speak with your healthcare provider about supplements. Vitamin D, zinc, and echinacea are often discussed for immune support, but individual needs can vary. Your provider can guide you on appropriate doses.
Hand Hygiene: Keep It Clean
Frequent handwashing, especially before meals and after being in public places, is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Teach kids proper handwashing techniques for added protection.
Remember, these tips are meant to support a healthy immune system, but they aren't foolproof. If someone in your family is unwell or has specific health concerns, it's wise to consult with your health care provider for personalized guidance.
Wishing your family a cozy, healthy, and illness-free winter season!
Call (828) 583-6733 to Make an Appointment with Emily McFalls, FNP, at WNCCHS —McDowell Health Center. Visit wncchs.org/providers to learn more.