We all know that after summer comes the cold and flu season. As the weather incrementally becomes colder and damper, avoiding illness and feeling lousy becomes an increasingly higher priority.

But exactly how to accomplish this is the real question, especially when it seems like everyone you know is feeling ill and those outdoor temperatures just keep getting lower.

Here are some tips on how to stay healthy this Fall and Winter:

Sleep Soundly

Sleep is one of the most overlooked, yet simplest ways to help keep your body healthy.

Think of a good night’s sleep as a way to recharge your body. Plus those who get better sleep have a better immune system than those who don’t. Adequate sleep also creates a lower risk of serious medical issues. If you’re an adult, this means you need to get as close to eight hours of sleep as you possibly can. If you find yourself unable to get that full night’s rest or have a hard time falling asleep, look at your surroundings.

Needing noise or a light to fall asleep is common, but using television for the job does more harm than good because of the flashing that will disrupt your sleep cycle. Instead, look for a noise machine with a built in light; even though these are common for nurseries they will work in any bedroom.

Get Your Vitamins!

With the colder weather comes a lack of sunlight. This means that you’re going to be missing out on your best source of vitamin D, which helps support your immune system among other benefits. And let’s face it, your immune system needs all the support it can get when battling those chilly temperatures and surrounding sickness.

Thankfully you can help with that loss by making use of other sources of vitamin D. The obvious solution is to take a supplement that you can find in a pharmacy. Before you do, check with your doctor to make sure it won’t interfere with your health. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods. Fatty fish and seafood, mushrooms, and egg yolks are all great sources. You can also consume fortified foods, like cow’s milk, plant-based milk substitutes, orange juice, tofu and some yogurts, for additional vitamin D.

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Stay Active

Being healthy means exercising no matter the weather. Sure, dropping temperatures and gray skies make everyone want to curl up under a blanket with the latest Netflix hit, but it’s important to fight that urge and do what you can to stay moving. Not only does exercise allow you to sweat out any toxins and stay physically fit, but those who exercise regularly also have a better immune system than those who don’t.

There are plenty of ways for you to be active, despite the chill in the air. If you feel up to braving the elements, head outside for a run or head to your gym. Otherwise, you can workout from the comfort of your house with at-home gym equipment or by following exercise tutorials online.

Be sure to keep yourself accountable by following a workout plan. It’s all too easy to slip out of your routine when the weather is less than perfect.

Keep Your Environment Clean

Dander, allergens and bacteria are some of the largest culprits when it comes to getting sick at home.

Breathing these in is no good for anyone, and it makes things worse for those suffering from allergies or asthma. That’s why it is important to go through and clean your home on a seasonal basis, with extra attention paid from Fall to Winter and from Spring to Summer.

One of the best things you can do is to change out your air filter at the beginning of every season. This way you know you’re breathing in clean air.

Shampooing any rugs is also important as many harmful molecules can cling to the fabric. You should also clean any furniture you use frequently, like mattresses, chairs and sofas. Since your sofa especially is used frequently by many different people, pay extra attention to that. And it’s probably time to get a new one if you notice wear, any off-putting scents or an excess of dust.

Be Prepared

Knowing how to stay healthy as it gets colder will be you a big advantage in staving off illness. But if you do succumb to some type of malaise as the weather becomes colder, the best thing you can do is to be prepared so you can start feeling better as quickly as possible.

Stock up on the essentials, like: tissues, soup, energy drink, cold medicine, Vicks and cough drops. Having these on hand can be a lifesaver when it’s cold out and you’re not feeling up to going outside to venture to the pharmacy.

Your health is crucial, and you should do everything you can to stay in good shape during a time when people are especially vulnerable to illness. Unfortunately, everyone gets sick at some point. All we can do is try our best to prevent it, and try to get on the mend as soon as we can!

By Ina Gutowska

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