Taking care of your health this fall

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Are you one of those people who get sick when the season changes? Incidences of colds, flu and allergies are up when we shift from one season to the next. But did you know that seasonal temperature changes are not the direct cause of these illnesses? Viruses actually are. However, temperature shifts allow different groups of viruses to flourish and that’s why we see more people get sick during these times.

As summer draws to a close in a few weeks, you may want to prepare ahead to prevent being sidelined by sickness. As the temperature starts to drop, and we get colder weather in the fall, make sure to take these extra precautions to welcome fall illness-free:

  1. Continue your exercise regimen

    We have the tendency to slow down when colder climate nears. This is understandable since you can’t go out as much and indulge in outdoor activities. Early in the fall, you can still jog or brisk walk outside. To supplement your exercise regimen, you can slowly shift to indoor exercises like yoga or tai-chi. If you want a more vigorous exercise, try Zumba or other types of workouts (check your community centre). Now is also a good time to dust off your treadmill or stationary bike so you can run (or bike) a few laps indoors when it gets too cold to go outside. If you don’t have exercise equipment, check out some easy workouts on YouTube that you can do at home, like this 20-minute total body workout for beginners (women):

  2. Boost your immunity

    Eating fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables will help keep your body strong and your mood up. Fruits like apples, pears, grapefruits, tangerines, pomegranates, and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C. This will not only help strengthen your immunity but help protect you from heart disease and certain cancers as well. Eat them as is, or mix in salads for a fresh, tangy and healthy dish. Farmer’s markets all over Manitoba have great vegetable selections like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They are inexpensive sources of fiber, iron, and various vitamins. To cap it off, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

    Aside from eating healthy, get a flu shot, especially if you have kids below six years old who are too young to get immunized. The little ones are the first to catch viruses. So to prevent these viruses from spreading in your family further, get an extra shield to protect yourself. Check the Schedule for Provincial Flu Clinics/Region to know where to get your free flu shot.

  3. Get a physical check-up

    Fall is a great time to check in with your family doctor. Consult her or him about nutrition, getting the right vitamins – generally how to improve your health. You can also ask about some health concerns that you may have. Don’t forget to ask for blood pressure and cholesterol checks (the doctor will probably prescribe them anyway). Even young people need them.

  4. Protect your skin

    Continue using sunscreen and always moisturize. As temperatures drop, you will notice that the air gets drier. Invest in a good body lotion to keep your skin soft and correct some of the sun damage you may have gotten during the summer. Reach for “broad spectrum” sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. This will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays and against skin cancer. Don’t forget your lips! Petroleum jelly is always a good salve for dry, cracked skin.

  5. Prepare your mindset

    Prepare to slow down a bit in the fall. Days will start getting shorter, and with less sunlight, you may be prone to sadness and dark moods. For most, it could be just the regular blahs that may come after the realization that summer has ended. But for others, it could be a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that usually starts in the fall. People with SAD have low energy and are moody. Some may become too down to function normally in their daily lives. If you feel any of these symptoms, consult your family doctor. For most of us, it would be helpful to embrace the change and just enjoy the cooler climate. Fall is an awesome season to go outdoors and admire the fabulous colours of nature to keep your mood up.


Sources:
Why do people get sick when the seasons change? Laura Geggel, Livescience.com; 15 best superfoods for fall, Health.com; Seasonal Affective Disorder, Canadian Mental Health Association. All accessed July 31, 2017.

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Community Resources

Check the fall Leisure Guide or your nearest immigrant serving organization or NISW for activities to help keep you healthy and happy this season.

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