As we usher in the fall season with gorgeous fall foliage, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes, there’s one aspect of the changing seasons you may not be looking forward to—the chances you have of getting sick.
In this blog post, we’ll share our top tips on how to stay healthy in the fall, so you can enjoy all the season has to offer and show up to work feeling your best.
How to Stay Healthy in the Fall (and Allergy Season!)
In the fall, seasonal allergies can make you more vulnerable to infections. Learning how to keep allergies at bay is an important aspect of how to stay healthy in the fall. For those who don’t have allergies, seasonal changes in the climate can irritate your nasal passages and compromise your body’s ability to fight colds and cases of flu, which is why colds tend to circulate in the fall season.
Fall triggers for allergies include mold (which not only grows in homes but also in damp outside areas—common during the fall) and dust mites, which can be blown into a home when a furnace is turned on for the first time in months. The most common fall allergy trigger is ragweed, which loses pollen from August to October, can travel for hundreds of miles, and can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes and can also trigger asthma flares.
If you have allergies, be mindful of how the change in season will impact your sinuses and overall health. Be sure to have your allergy medication on hand, avoid activities or places that trigger your allergies, and speak with a medical professional if you struggle to cope with allergies during season changes.
Fall Healthy Tips
As colds and flu cases circulate during the fall, it’s crucial to boost your natural immunity so your body is better equipped to handle viruses. As always, make sure you are eating healthy and nutritious food this fall. For ideas on quick and healthy power snacks for nurses, check out this Nursa blog post for easy meals and snacks you can enjoy on the go.
It’s not easy to kick a caffeine habit—especially if you’re working night shifts. However, reducing your caffeine intake can improve your sleep, reduce your anxiety and headaches, help you have healthier and whiter teeth, and reduce your blood pressure, among other health benefits. If you’re looking to cut back on coffee, consider these healthy alternatives to coffee for busy nurses.
If you’re not already taking supplements, consider taking vitamins or a multivitamin to stay healthy in the fall. You can get bloodwork done, speak to a medical professional, and see how your body responds to supplements. During the fall, it’s common to take Vitamin C, D, B Complex, Omega 3, and Probiotics. You can also boost your immunity by incorporating more ginger, turmeric, and honey into your diet (if you can get your hands on Manuka honey, this is particularly powerful because of its antibacterial properties).
Finally, exercising is a proven way to boost your immune system. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Even the busiest of nurses can incorporate more physical activity into their routines with our exercise tips for nurses.
Stay Healthy Mentally
Checking in with your body is key in order to stay healthy mentally. As much as possible, avoid over-exerting yourself. As a nurse, you work a demanding job, are often under pressure, and work with vulnerable individuals whose stories and medical issues can take a mental and emotional toll on you, especially if you’re empathetic. Burnout is common given the demands on health care workers, including nurses. In fact, burnout helps explain why nurses are leaving hospital jobs at alarming rates for other jobs.
If you feel you’re burning the candle at both ends, here are some tips to help you de-stress and avoid burnout as a nurse. Research shows that mental and physical health are intrinsically linked, so it’s essential to stay healthy mentally. You can also reach out to professionals, including an occupational health nurse practitioner (OCC health nurse). These nurses, who are leaders of public health and care in the workplace, can act as a support system to you, whether you’re working night shifts or an 8-hour nursing job. Prioritizing your mental and emotional health individually and with the support of professionals, including a certified occupational health nurse, can literally keep you from getting sick.
Common Fall Illnesses
The seasonal flu, caused by the influenza virus, is the most common fall illness and is spread through droplets as people cough, sneeze, or talk. The flu virus can survive on surfaces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu causes approximately 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations every year and leads to 12,000 to 52,000 deaths annually.
Flu vaccines, which are free, help prevent this common illness. Consider taking an annual flu shot to boost your immunity and protect the people around you, mainly if you work with seniors, young children, or other groups with heightened vulnerabilities.
Common colds are also prevalent in the fall, as people are likely indoors and close to one another, allowing viruses to spread more rapidly. Unlike the flu, a cold is less severe, and there is no vaccine to prevent its spread.
Final Thoughts on Staying Healthy in the Fall
While the fall season ushers in a time of beauty, community events, and outdoor fun, it can quickly become frustrating or miserable if you’re unwell. Following these healthy tips for fall and taking steps to protect your health as a nurse is key to delivering quality care to your patients and enjoying all the season has to offer.
Are you looking to pick up a high paying, per diem shift? Download the Nursa app today to browse nearby opportunities that fit your ideal work schedule.