5 Tips to Stay Happy and Healthy This Winter
The holiday season is just around the corner. While we’re all excited for the extra family time and delicious food, one thing no one looks forward to is cold and flu season. Colder weather means more time inside, and packed spaces will have you dodging sniffling noses and dry coughs left and right. From washing your hands to attending a mental health screening, utilizing preventive care measures can help protect you from all that lies ahead this winter.
You’ve heard it a million times, and for good reason: washing your hands is by far the best way to keep you from getting sick and prevent the spread of germs.
Dr. Payal Kohli, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of Colorado School of Medicine attests to the science behind hand washing. Studies show that 15-20 seconds of washing hands with soap and water reduces bacterial counts by 90%. An additional 15 seconds packs even more of a punch, killing close to 99.9% of bacteria.
Always wash your hands before and after meals, when visiting public spaces, and any other time you come in contact with groups of people — especially if you visit the doctor’s office. Opting for a fist bump instead of a handshake or high five will put you at the lowest risk for transmission of bacteria. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you’ve washed your hands.
Here’s how to wash germs away:
Wet your hands with clean, warm water.
Lather soap for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing between fingers, the backs of hands, under the nails, and the wrists.
Rinse and dry with a clean towel.
If you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands, don’t worry — you can still protect yourself by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends picking up a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to effectively kill nearly all the commonly acquired respiratory viruses, like the flu. Keep one in your car, purse, or pocket so you can stay safe and healthy wherever you go.
And don’t forget to keep others in mind this winter while you’re out and about. The average sneeze or cough sends about 100,000 contagious germs into the air at up to 100 miles per hour. These tiny droplets are pretty powerful, penetrating deep in the lungs even if you’re not in close proximity to others. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue handy, your upper sleeve or elbow can catch those germs instead.
When we take care of ourselves by preventing the spread of germs, we take care of everyone else, too.
The worst part about having the flu? Kicking yourself for not getting your flu shot last month.
We’ve all been there. But incorporating a yearly flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster as part of your preventive care routine can help you get ahead of the cold and flu season. Flu and COVID-19 vaccination reduces your likelihood of developing serious illness, as well as reducing visits to the doctor’s office, missed work and school, and chances of hospitalization and death. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine and an updated COVID-19 vaccine every fall or winter.
Attending health screenings is an integral part of your preventive care routine. Health screenings identify — and can even help you prevent — diseases before they become serious, ensuring you get the specialized care you need before you really need it. That way, you can focus on maintaining and improving your health as you get older.
Preventive care services, like immunizations and health screenings, are the key to unlocking a long, healthy life this winter and for many winters to come.
While many of us focus on keeping ourselves physically healthy this winter, it’s easy to forget how the early sunsets and bitter temperatures impact our mental health. Between weather changes, holiday plans, travel disruptions, fear of you or a loved one getting sick, and end-of-year obligations at work, stress and anxiety are bound to go up during the winter.
Mental health is every bit as important as physical health.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern and is typically more apparent and severe during the winter. Symptoms start around the fall every year, continuing throughout the winter months and resolving around springtime:
Feeling sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
Feeling sluggish and low on energy
Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
Having thoughts of not wanting to live
If you’re noticing signs of SAD, you’re not alone. These winter months can be tough, but with the right support and access to care, you can prevent the onset of SAD. Attending a mental health screening and learning effective strategies can help you easily and confidently manage extra stress or anxiety during the winter. Contact your Care Navigator to connect with the best possible care for your situation and get back to feeling like yourself.
Nothing ruins a trip away quite like getting sick. Feeling under the weather while traveling is stressful in and of itself, and figuring out where to go for care in an unfamiliar place only makes the situation worse.
Curative members never go without a doctor. With telehealth options, you can see a doctor on your schedule, wherever you are — 24/7 365.
You can see a doctor online for:
COVID-19, cold & flu symptoms
Skin rashes and infections
Insect bites and stings
Sinus, urinary tract, and yeast infections
Nausea & diarrhea
Minor injuries, sprains, and pains
Minor trauma, burns, and lacerations
General health and medication questions
Virtual urgent care is also a great option even if you’re feeling sick at home. Staying out of the office or school prevents others from getting sick while ensuring you get the rest you need. Curative takes the worry out of picking up medications, too — after your virtual appointment, we deliver prescriptions right to your door.
Whether you’re worried about your physical health, mental health, or overall well-being this winter, our message stays the same: Curative is here for you.
We want you to be the best, healthiest version of yourself year-round, which is why we’ve crafted a health plan that’s centered around you. We’re here to offer support through your health journey, encouraging you to be your own advocate because you know yourself best. When you’re given the time and space to vocalize your health needs, you’re more likely to get the right care for your situation. You deserve a health plan that listens to you and is prepared to connect you with high-quality care when you’re feeling sick, and the best preventive health services even when you’re feeling great.
As a Curative member, you’re in the driver’s seat. We’re sitting passenger side, ready to help you navigate whatever comes up on the road ahead.
This winter, we’ve got you covered. Curative wants members to love using their health benefits, especially during these colder months. Our health plan delivers better health through affordability, engagement, and simplicity.
No copays. No deductibles. No...really. Curative is changing the way we view health insurance.*
**In order to qualify, members must complete a Baseline Visit within the first 120 days of the plan effective date.
Dive into the ways Curative has you covered on all your health screenings this winter by visiting us here.
To see all disclaimers, please view here.
Hand washing: why it’s so important. Nemours Kids Health. Last reviewed March 2023. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hand-washing.html
5 easy ways to stay germ-free and avoid getting sick this semester. (6 Sept 2021). University of Nebraska Lincoln Health Center. https://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/nextatnebraska/13143/76726
7 winter wellness tips to help you stay healthy. University of Nebraska Lincoln Health Center. Accessed 21 Oct 2023. https://health.unl.edu/7-winter-wellness-tips-help-you-stay-healthy
Who needs a flu vaccine. Last reviewed 25 Aug 2023. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm
CDC recommends updated COVID-19 vaccine for fall/winter virus season. (21 Sept 2023). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2023/p0912-COVID-19-Vaccine.html
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (14 Dec 2021). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
Upham, B. (17 Dec 2022). 11 ways psychologists plan to stay happy and healthy this winter. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/self-care/ways-psychologists-plan-to-stay-happy-and-healthy-this-winter-of-covid-19/
Huynh, S. (18 Jan 2022). Self advocacy in healthcare and why it matters. UC-LEND, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at UCLA and UCR. https://uc-lend.med.ucla.edu/
Mela, S. and D.E. Whitworth. The fist bump: a more hygienic alternative to the handshake. Am J Infect Cont. 2014;42:916-917. https://www.apic.org/Resource_/TinyMceFileManager/Fist_bump_article_AJIC_August_2014.pdf
Handwashing science in the time of the coronavirus. 365 Health. Accessed 25 Oct 2023. https://365health.org/blog/handwashing-science-in-the-time-of-the-coronavirus/#:~:text=Studies%20show%20that%20washing%20hands,counts%20by%20close%20to%2099.9%25.
Sissons, B. (25 Mar 2021). How much alcohol, or ethanol, should hand sanitizer contain? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-much-alcohol-should-hand-sanitizer-contain#how-much-ethanol
Cassata, C. (1 Feb 2019). Here’s how fast and far a sneeze can carry contagious germs. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/heres-how-far-and-how-fast-a-sneeze-carries-contagious-germs