The weather isn’t the only thing that changes as we progress through the seasons – your health begins to change, too.
With seasonal allergies as well as common colds and viruses going around, it’s important to make sure you are staying on top of your health.
Krishna Patel, a nurse practitioner with Bon Secours St. Francis, is already seeing an increase in patients as the colder months begin. But she adds that many of these visits could have avoided by taking just a few preventative measures.
Seasonal affective disorder
“One of the biggest things we’re seeing right now is seasonal affective disorder,” Krishna shares. “With the time change coming up and the days getting shorter, many folks aren’t feeling their best,” Patel says. “They feel more sad than happy or that they aren’t finding the same joy during the day like they normally do.”
If that’s something you’re experiencing, rest assured you aren’t alone. Many people are affected by the colder weather and the darker skies. Vitamin D is an easy thing to take to boost your energy and to get you feeling back to normal.
Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your primary care provider either, as a simple conversation can be a great way to organize your thoughts and feelings.
Allergies are another big thing this time of year. From watery eyes to an itchy throat, it’s important to avoid those allergy-inducing triggers.
“Ragweed allergies are so bad right now – and I’m sure many people are feeling the effects of them,” Krishna says. “You want to make sure you stay away from piles of wet leaves or other damp areas where ragweed grows more commonly. Don’t forget about inside areas, too. AC filters can play a large role in causing allergies – and replacing them can help rid your house of dust mites and other factors that are making your allergies go crazy.
Muscle and joint pain
If you struggle with arthritis, you may notice a big difference between the summer and winter months. The change in barometric pressure can cause an increase of aches and pains, slow blood circulation and cause muscle spasms.
“One of the biggest tips I have for someone who struggles with arthritis is to take preventative measures,” Krishna advises. “Exercise daily – walking and strength training are super important to keep up with. Also, dress in layers so you can stay warm without getting overheated and keeping a heating pad around can be beneficial, too.”
The flu and other illnesses
The best thing you can do to avoid illnesses such as the flu and COVID-19 is to be prepared. Go ahead and get your flu shot and make sure you have the most updated COVID-19 booster. Not only are they easy to get, but they provide great prevention.
“The flu is already spreading,” Krishna shares. “Which is why it’s important to go ahead and get your flu shot. Vaccinations, and the flu shot specifically, can help minimize the different symptoms so you don’t feel as bad as you would without the vaccination.”
Of course, if you are feeling sick, stay home and away from others. Also, contact your primary care provider and set up a telehealth appointment, if needed.
Krishna adds, “as we head into the colder months, my biggest piece of advice to staying healthy is to take care of yourself and those around you. Take your daily vitamins, eat your fruits and veggies and get your heart pumping.”
Learn more about the primary care services we offer at Bon Secours.