By Janet Domke, RN BSN

Now that the colder winter weather is here, it is essential to take care of yourself and stay healthy so you can make the most of the “most wonderful time of the year!” Human behavior facilitates the transmission of the common cold and flu. During the winter, we travel en masse and stay indoors, in close contact with our friends and families. This increases our risk for illnesses.

Here are a few tips to get you through the season without compromising your health.

  1. Get a flu shot – it will protect you from the most common strains and your symptoms won’t be as severe if you do happen to get sick.
  2. Wash your hands – one of the easiest ways to fight illness and keep colds and viruses at bay.  Regular hand washing is so important. Always wash your hands after touching a shared surface. Keep hand sanitizer with you in your car/purse.
  3. Stay hydrated – winter weather can be rough on your skin (the largest organ of the body). Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily, if not more. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, which are less hydrating due to the side effect of increased urination. Drinking water and staying hydrated also helps the kidneys eliminate toxins from your body.
  4. Build immunity – eat a well-balanced diet. Consider taking a multivitamin and a probiotic daily. Exercise and get a proper amount of sleep. Have a positive attitude. Being happy can boost your immune system, too!
  5. Sleep – by sleeping 8-10 hours a night you can build up your immune system. Sleep is also important in the reduction of stress and keeps your energy levels up throughout the busy winter season.

And most importantly, take time to relax this winter season. Spend time with ones you love.  Make you a priority so you can enjoy the most wonderful time of year!


Janet Domke is the Clinical Coordinator for the Bariatric Center of Excellence.  She has been a registered nurse since 2005. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Stony Brook University and has completed courses in holistic nursing. She joined the Bariatric team at Mather Hospital in 2014 and is currently pursuing her certification in bariatric nursing.