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Published on November 17, 2017

winter

5 things to do to stay healthy this winter

Winters in the Midwest usually consist of snow, frigid temperatures and lots of coughing and sneezing.

Kris Roou, NP, nurse practitioner at the Gundersen Sparta Clinic, says it's important to take care of yourself during winter to give your body the strength to fight off the increased risks of germs and illnesses.

Kris Roou, NP

"As the weather gets cold outside, people stay indoors. Close quarters and recycled air provide a greater contact time for diseases," Kris explains. "Also, families often visit each other during the holiday season; and different groups of people from different regions come together and share their local strains of illness."

To stay healthy this winter, Kris offers the following advice:

  1. KEEP MOVING: Go skiing or sledding, build a snow fort with your children, join a fitness center or walk the stairs in your home. Kris says 30 minutes of activity a day can help you maintain good health.
  2. GET PROPER SLEEP: Your body needs adequate rest to re-energize and help fight off potential illnesses. Kris recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults and eight to ten hours for school-age children.
  3. WASH YOUR HANDS—A LOT: One of the best defenses against germs is frequent, thorough handwashing and use of hand sanitizer (gel). It is also one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to combat the spread of germs and infections.
  4. BALANCE YOUR DIET: Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables daily to receive the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep you feeling well.
  5. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS: Even though you may not feel as thirsty in winter, your body still needs proper hydration. Drink eight glasses of water a day to help your immune system.

For more information, talk with your primary care provider. For a list of Gundersen clinics in your area, go to gundersenhealth.org/locations.