Posted on February 23, 2016 ·

How to Stay Healthy During Winter

How to Stay Healthy

Here are some tips on how to stay healthy during winter

How to stay healthy during the winter can be a challenge for many truck drivers. The cold weather can take a tole on your mental and physical health, which could end up affecting your personal life.

Less sunlight, cold temperatures, and flu and cold season, all mixed in with holiday demands, can lead to physical and mental stress. Here are some steps you can take to help keep your physical and mental self in top shape this winter.

No. 1: Wash your hands regularly.

This is something you should do whether you’re sick or not. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says hand-washing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine that’s one of the top ways to avoid getting sick or infecting others.

When to wash your hands:

  • Before eating.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After blowing your nose.
  • After coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your hands.

How to wash your hands

  • Wet your hands and apply soap and lather.
  • Scrub your hands (including the backs, between fingers and under nails) for at least 20 seconds. (Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.)
  • Rinse your hands and air dry or use a clean towel.

 How to use hand sanitizers:

  • Apply the recommended amount to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

No. 2: Use good hygiene etiquette.

 If you do get sick with a respiratory illness, be considerate of others. Coughing and sneezing into your hand is so last century. This practice often does the opposite of what’s intended, spreading germs rather than containing them. (Think of all the things you touch with your hands when you go into a truck stop.)

Coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away is the ideal solution, according to CDC. Keep tissue in your pockets and within easy reach when you’re in your cab. On the inevitable occasion when tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your upper shirtsleeve or elbow, not in your hand.

Whether using a tissue or shirtsleeve, be sure to completely cover your mouth and nose.

 No. 3: Get your flu vaccine – it’s not too late!

Many people think getting a flu shot or nasal-spray vaccine after November is a waste of time, but the CDC begs to differ.

As long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late, the public-health agency declares. Significant numbers of people become ill as late as May, according to CDC, which recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu vaccine.

For most people, having the flu means missing work and feeling miserable for several days. But flu complications also can mean hospitalization and even death. More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to flu complications each year. During a recent 30-year period, annual deaths associated with flu in the United States ranged from roughly 3,000 to about 49,000.

People 65 and older, young children and those with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease have a greater risk of developing complications. Getting vaccinated is especially important if you have any of these illnesses or will be around a baby too young to receive the vaccine.

No. 4: Get enough sleep each night.

Proper sleep (eight hours for an adult) can help keep the body’s immune system healthy and fight off colds. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes as these substances can affect the quality of your sleep. Regular, moderate exercise, relaxation techniques, and establishing a regular sleep routine may help to promote improved sleep.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to soft music or soaking in a warm bath. Avoid watching TV or using your computer just before bedtime. Turn the lights down low an hour before you turn in for the night, as it will boost the release of melatonin in the brain.

Also try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. By sticking to a routine, it will keep you focused on how to stay healthy for the long months of winter.

No. 5: Get your mind right!

Hours spent alone on the road can give negative thoughts time to fester and create a loop of negative feelings. Listening to abrasive talk radio can make matters even worse. Negativity will impact your goal on how to stay healthy during the cold dreary months.

For the sake of ratings, many media outlets take advantage of our brain’s negative bias (we’re highly attuned to negative news) and our deep desire to have our opinions confirmed and validated. If talk radio makes you upset, agitated, or angry about things you can’t change, ask yourself what good is being done for you or others.

Of course it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the world. Get this information from sources that present news objectively and offer multiple perspectives. If you feel strongly about a political topic, send a brief email or place a quick call to your senator or representative. It’s surprisingly easy to do – just click the “contact” button on the person’s website.

Then turn your thoughts to something positive. There’s no shortage of inspirational TED Talks, interesting podcasts, upbeat music/lyrics and audio books.