Taking care of your health this fall

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You can get sick when seasons change

Do you wonder why we get colds, flu and allergies when seasons change? Temperature changes do not make us sick. Viruses cause them. However, the change in temperature helps some viruses to grow. During fall and winter, cooler temperatures allow cold and flu viruses to hang in the air. That’s why more people get sick. And of course, this fall, we have to be doubly vigilant about the COVID-19 virus and its variants.


Take care of your health by:

Following health and safety guidelines

Avoid crowds, observe physical distancing, wear masks and wash your hands often. Know the latest public health measures. Go to RestartMB Pandemic Response System.

Exercising

We slow down when it gets colder. It’s hard to go out and stay active when it’s cold outside. However, we should continue being active to improve immune response, and lessen the risk of illness. You should choose exercises like:

  • indoor exercises like yoga or tai-chi.
  • Zumba or other types of aerobic workouts.
  • using your treadmill or stationary bike.
  • easy workouts on YouTube.


20-minute total body workout for beginners (women)

Load up on nutrients and get a flu shot

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your body strong and your mood up. Apples, pears, grapefruits, tangerines, pomegranates and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C. This vitamin strengthens immunity and protects from heart disease and certain cancers. Eat fruits raw or mix them in salads for a fresh, tasty and healthy dish. Go to Farmer’s markets all over Manitoba. Fall is the season for pumpkins, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They are cheap sources of fiber, iron and other vitamins. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Getting vaccinated is a big help for our bodies. It protects you and others from getting COVID-19. Also consider the regular flu shot for your young kids (who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet) as the little ones are the first to catch viruses. Go to ProtectMB to find the nearest immunization site to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t gotten it yet. Check the Schedule for Provincial Flu Clinics/Region to know where to get the flu shot.

 
Know all the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Read the Vaccine Safety and Efficacy Q&A, and Vaccine Myths & Facts on Protect MB.

Getting a physical check-up

Talk to your family doctor about how to improve your health. Ask about nutrition and getting the right vitamins. Get a blood pressure and cholesterol level check. Even young people should do this.

Protecting your skin

Always use sunscreen and moisturize. The air gets drier as temperatures drop. Use body lotion to help keep your skin soft. It will also heal sun damage your skin experienced in summer. Use broad spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin. Get one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. This will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays and skin cancer. Don’t forget your lips! Use petroleum jelly for dry, cracked skin.

Preparing your mindset

Be ready to slow down in the fall. The short days and less sunlight can make you sad or have low moods. This is called the “winter blues”. But if your low energy keeps you from having a normal day, it may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that usually starts in the fall. This is more severe than the winter blues. See your family doctor if you think you have SAD.

Enjoy fall by embracing the season and enjoying the cooler climate. Go outdoors and see the changing colours of nature. This will lift your mood.
 
Article updated September 15, 2021.
 
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

Go to Taking care of your mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic for more resources.

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