10 Smart Tips From Doctors on Keeping Yourself (and the Kids) Healthy

10 Smart Tips From Doctors To Keep You & Your Family Healthy

Stay healthy this winter with these easy-to-follow tips from medical doctors.


Does it seem like everyone around you is sneezing, coughing, or recovering from some virus? Well, we asked the medical experts for their top tips on keeping adults and kids healthy this winter season. You might be surprised by their answers!

1. Drink more water. Hydration helps overall to keep mucus thin and your sinuses open, plus it helps prevent your skin from drying and cracking, says Dr. Tim Horrigan, MD, FAAFP, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital.

2. Clean out your vacuum cleaner. Cleaning out your vacuum cleaner and replacing your furnace filter cuts down on dust, particularly in the dry indoor air season, which can help prevent congestion and watery eyes, says Horrigan.

3. Carry your own pen. When you leave home, always take a pen with you. “When you use the pen they offer you at the bank, gym, school, or restaurant, you are exposed to the countless germs left there by the 30 other people that used that same pen before you,” says Dr. Dan Glascock, MD, a family practitioner based in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

4. Wash your hands constantly. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to keep the bacteria and viruses off, says Dr. Gati Niranjan Dhroove, MD. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds, she recommends. “Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer close by for those instances when you can’t get to soap and water.”

5. Exercise. In addition to consuming a healthy diet, regular exercise is important to staying healthy. “Moderate daily exercise increases blood flow, ensuring immune cells circulate throughout the body,” says Colleen Kennedy, MA, RD, LDN.

6. Avoid close contact with others who are sick. “This may seem like common sense but this is one of the easiest ways to prevent illnesses,” says Dr. Jack Cornwell, MD, regional medical director for CareWell Urgent Care. If you see someone coughing, try to avoid that person as much as possible, especially since the flu can be spread up to 6 feet away, he warns.

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7. Keep your surroundings clean: The cleaner your environment, the fewer chances you have of germs sticking around. Try wiping down your desk every day with disinfectant wipes. “Also, spend extra time cleaning your bathroom and kitchen, where germs tend to live,” says Cornwell.

8. Make sure to get enough sleep. During winter, when your body is working overtime to keep you from getting sick, it’s not only important to get your regular sleep, but you may also need more sleep than usual. “When sleep suffers, so does your immune system,” says Cornwell. 

Learn how to sleep well here at our blog.

9. Eat healthfully, or take a multivitamin. Stock up on foods like kale and broccoli, which are rich in antioxidants and will help fight damaging particles known as free radicals, says Cornwell. If you are not getting all your micronutrients from your diet, take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.

10. Don't touch your face. Your face is one of the easiest places for germs to enter the body, says Cornwell. Simply put: Keep your hands down.

What tips do you have for keeping your family healthy?

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