Health Tips for Autumn

| By Catherine Marcuccilli, Student Nurse Organization (SNO) |

There are choices that each person can make to improve or maintain their health. The following are some useful health promotion tips for the Autumn season.

Be sure to schedule an annual checkup with a health care provider, whenever yours is due. Additionally, ask if your immunizations are up to date. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/preteen-teen.html or https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/adult.html are helpful links to consult to see if there are any missing from your vaccine history and to find out if there are any new additions. Vaccinations are key to preventing many illnesses. Older baby boomers may remember when people developed communicable diseases for which there is no cure. Now many diseases are reduced in occurrence to the point that many people don’t realize what life was like with many people falling ill from such life altering, and sometimes fatal diseases. If there is no contraindication for you, vaccinations, even the flu shot, is recommended for both your health and the health of people around you.

Good nutrition also helps you to better health. When there is little time, or maybe even low resources, eating well can be challenging. Following general guidelines can help, such as including more fruit and vegetable, and reducing sugary packaged snacks. Keeping track of fat intake can help. Studies have shown that limiting saturated fat, and utilizing oils for meeting necessary fat consumption is helpful to many people. If you consider your food consumption and determine that some changes would be healthy, look for both the simplest changes as well as determine if there are any changes that may take more effort. An example of a relatively simple change would be substituting a piece of fruit to obtain more vitamins and minerals in your day, instead of eating a processed sugary item. A more involved change may be reworking your protein consumption away from heavily preserved and processed meat items. Changes in food choices often need to occur gradually, so persevere if you decide that it’s time to change some or many of your food choices.

If you love the sun, the rays of autumn are less intense than summer, but still be aware of sunscreen concerns when planning an extended time in the sun. Obtaining 10 to 15 minutes of sun time without sunscreen can provide you with some necessary Vitamin D. When getting a checkup with your health care provider, ask about having your vitamin D levels checked. Adequate vitamin D, essential to good bone health, is also helpful for a strong immune system. Look for foods fortified with vitamin D, and check with your health care provider before taking supplements.

Exercise and hobbies are some keys to good health. They can be combined or separate. Active hobbies such as team or individual sports incorporate exercise in a fun and or interactive way. If you played a sport in high school, check for community leagues or gather a small group for informal games on a regular basis. If your favorite sport is seasonal, such as snowboarding, consider adding an offseason activity such as hiking. Tennis is a sport that can be played most of the year, and can be learned at almost any age. Taking walks in well lighted, populated areas; and/or with a group is an excellent way to fit exercise into a busy schedule. Hobbies can include drawing, painting, reading books that you choose, and the list goes on. Exercise is a pillar component of health, and hobbies can help with increasing relaxation, and reducing stress.

Adequate rest is essential. Keep your number of late night study sessions down by committing to studying a few hours at a time almost every day. Take breaks, study in both shorter and longer segments depending on your schedule and stay hydrated in the process. Take the time each day to drink about 6-8 glasses of water for the day, and be aware that optimal amounts vary based to some extent on activity level and individual variations.  To save time on falling asleep, slowly darken your living area during the evening, and invest effort in turning off electronics in advance of sleep time. Enough exercise during the day, and avoiding caffeine after 4 or 5 o’clock help with more quickly falling asleep. If needed, schedule some naps during your day.

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