“More rain for the valley”, “Freeze Warnings overnight across the Phoenix metro area”, and “Winter storm brings more snow to high country, rain to Valley” are just a few of the headlines grazing our Arizona news. It can’t be denied that we are in the midst of an abnormally cold and wet winter here in the Valley of the (normally) sun.
While rain is so important to our beautiful desert, it can also come with some problematic effects, especially for those who are transplant recipients. It’s a scientific fact that cold temperatures reduce the body’s natural immune system and create challenges to stay healthy. The following strategies can help you stay healthy through this chilly season.
- Wash your hands regularly. According to the CDC, washing your hands regularly “is an effective way to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.”
- Stay warm. Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Choose an outer garment that is tightly woven and water repellent.
- Get rest. While researchers are working to better understand what connection may exist between getting enough sleep and the strength of our immune systems, the health benefits associated with adequate rest are significant.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, nausea and dizziness. In addition to drinking enough water, consider a home humidifier as well.
- Eat healthy. Comfort foods may be appealing when it’s cold outside but nutritious food choices are as important during the winter as they are during bathing suit season.
- Get your flu shot. It is not too late to get your flu shot! Transplant recipients are advised to take only the injectable “inactivated influenza vaccine.” The flu shot uses a killed virus and is injected into the muscle. Because the virus is inactive, you cannot get the flu from taking this inoculation. Please be aware that it may take a couple of weeks for the vaccine to “take hold” and defend you against infection.