Jan. 21 2015 06:44 AM

Prevent a cold from taking you down this season

Snowy Winter
"I'm fine."

How many times have family members commented when a loved one looks under the weather and got that response? I venture a lot if you deal with farmers. They are the "no excuses, gotta get work done, no matter how I feel" poster people.

Gallup-Healthways research backs this. Farmers rank second only to doctors who take the least amount of sick days. Unfortunately, some may be hampering their recovery if they indeed are sick and still working.

We tend to take better care of our calves than ourselves. Follow this wintertime advice to help keep the human body's immune system at full strength.

  • Drink the optimal amount of water. Consider keeping bottled water handy so it's there when you want it.
  • Keep stress to a minimum. This is a tough one. We work in an industry that is very price volatile and highly dependant on people. That being said, having lower stress levels has shown to make a person less susceptible to catching colds and flu.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Just as all your livestock need a balanced ration, farmers need to consume well-rounded meals.
  • Exercise regularly. This is not a problem for the majority of dairy producers who are constantly on the go. But, consider other staff members who work indoors. Just 15 minutes of exercise per day can be beneficial.
  • Get the right amount of sleep. Research shows the average person needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Some will need more; others can do well on less. Unexpected farm surprises can interrupt sleep. Be the best judge of your body's needs.
  • Wash your hands regularly. We teach young children this message from the beginning. Somehow as we age, we seem to forget. Over the course of the day, bacteria and viruses can get on your hands. And if there are cuts and cracks on your hands, you could be exposing your body to these invaders.
Following these guidelines does not guarantee that you will never get sick. In the case that you do become ill, here are some tips to help your body recover faster.
  • Eliminate alcohol
  • Boost vitamin C and zinc intake
  • Increase water consumption
  • Rest more than normal
No one likes to get sick. And few like to care for those who get sick, especially those who claim that they "are not sick." So, take the time to review these healthy habits to prevent and minimize winter illnesses this season.

Excerpts from Wintertime Health Tips by Ann Nutzier, RN from the Health Kick Newsletter

Patti Hurtgen

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.