Fall is a beautiful time of year. However, it also comes with shorter days of sunlight, cooler temperatures, people spending more time indoors, and students working in classrooms where they can share germs and illnesses more readily with each other and then their families.
Here are 7 important health tips for you and your loved ones to stay as healthy as possible this fall. These tips are based on research from the country’s top medical and scientific institutions and are particularly important this fall due to the continued spread of covid-19.
7 Tips for Staying Healthy this Fall:
- Stay current with covid vaccines and boosters
- Get your flu shot and any other vaccinations you need to stay up-to-date
- Follow updated CDC and local guidelines on when to wear a protective mask and take other precautions in your community
- Stay up to date with your annual wellness or annual physical exam
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy foods and stay active
- Prioritize your brain health/mental health
Tip #1: Stay current with covid vaccines and boosters
Protect yourself as best you can from current variants of covid-19 and any new variants that may emerge this fall by staying up-to-date with covid vaccines and boosters as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Vaccines are the single best way to protect you and others from covid-19 as it continues to impact the country and the world.
Contact your primary care provider if you have questions about covid vaccines or boosters.
Tip #2: Follow updated CDC guidelines for wearing a protective mask and other precautions
The CDC Covid Data Tracker provides data on the occurrence of covid-19 in your particular county along with other valuable information such as where to find a vaccination site.
Stay informed about covid levels in your area to know if and what precautions are recommended for your community. The preventive measures for covid-19 are the same as for the flu: handwashing, wearing a mask in enclosed spaces and on public transportation when advised, and staying home when feeling sick.
Tip #3: Get your flu shot and all other vaccines you need to stay up-to-date
Last year’s flu season was mild because many people avoided large groups. However, this year’s flu season could have many more cases.
Clinical studies have indicated that people can get their flu shots at the same time as their covid vaccines or boosters without affecting their antibody response.
August is vaccination awareness month, reminding us that vaccines save lives and lower the chances of getting a disease or passing one along to someone else. Vaccines work with your body’s natural immune system to help you safely develop immunity to particular diseases.
Learn more about the importance of vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tip #4: Stay up-to-date with your annual wellness/check-up visit
Annual wellness exams (also known as annual check-ups) are essential for health maintenance and preventive care. Yearly checkups are often the first step in the diagnosis of health problems that, if left unaddressed, can turn into more serious health concerns. Early detection of diseases can be the key to successful treatment. The sooner your healthcare provider can detect and start to treat a disease, the greater the chances of a better health outcome.
If you are due for your annual check-up, contact your primary care clinic for an appointment.
Learn more about the importance of wellness visits.
Tip #5: Get plenty of sleep
Sleep aids your body in many ways. Your immune system is boosted during sleep, helping it fight off illness. During sleep, you produce cytokines, proteins that direct immune cells to fight inflammation throughout your body.
During sleep, your body also releases proteins and enzymes that help repair tissues that would heal much more slowly without adequate sleep. Sleep also helps lock in memories and regulate your emotions.
Lack of sleep increases your production of white blood cells. This also happens with too much stress. This white blood cell imbalance is associated with such illnesses such as heart disease.
So, sleep and relaxation are important for a lot of reasons! Talk with your primary care provider if you are having trouble getting adequate sleep or staying asleep during the night.
Tip #6: Eat healthy foods and stay active
A healthy diet is essential for a healthy body and is a crucial back-to-school health tip. A healthy diet protects you against many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancers. Eating a healthy diet means eating a variety of foods and not consuming too much salt, sugar, and saturated and trans-fats. A healthy diet typically includes a good balance of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, eggs and dairy, and lean meat (or vegetarian proteins). Talk to your healthcare provider about your diet and weight management to optimize both.
Physical activity is also a significant factor in preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and various types of cancers such as colon and breast cancers. Physical activity is also fundamental to energy balance and weight control.
Tip #7: Prioritize your brain health/mental health
Fall can be a hectic time for many people with back-to-school activities and homework nights, social gatherings, and the approach of fall and winter holidays. Prioritize time for yourself for important down time. Carve out time for activities that you find enjoyable and relaxing. Remember that you can only be there to help others when you take care of yourself.
If you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, reach out to family and friends and the help of your healthcare providers to get yourself back to a healthy and balanced place. An ongoing relationship with a therapist can be one of your best health investments.
At CVH, our primary care providers, psychiatrists, therapists, and social workers are here to help you in any way we can. Check out our entire website to learn more about all the services we offer in our whole-person approach to healthcare.