Here in the Delaware Valley, fall is in the air. That’s right—the days are getting shorter, leaves are falling, and the temperature is beginning to cool. Fall is a season of transition, and it’s a great time to focus on your health and wellness. Although our bodies are different, and nothing health-related is a guarantee, these five tips will help you and your family stay healthy and safe while enjoying the autumn season.
#1—Get Your Flu Shot
Plan to get a flu shot in October or early November, before the season peaks during winter. Flu shots are recommended for the entire family, from infants six months of age and older through senior-aged adults.
Getting an annual flu shot is your best defense against contracting this prevalent virus. Even if you do get sick, a flu shot can reduce the symptoms. And, no, you cannot get the flu from getting the shot.
Fall offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including apples, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. A healthy diet includes daily helpings of fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of these seasonal delights. Try something new at a local farmers’ market or choose the freshest selections from your supermarket, and enjoy the tastes of fall.
#3—Take Care of Outdoor Chores
For many of us, fall means taking on extra outdoor chores. Although they are not most people’s idea of a good time, if you’re a homeowner with trees on your property, raking and fall yard work are inevitable.
As long as you are in good health and able, chores like raking provide a great opportunity to get some fresh air and burn some calories. In fact, a half-hour of raking can help burn about 150 calories.
#4—Schedule Yearly Checkups
Have you had your annual health checkup yet? If not, it’s best to schedule it now before it takes a backseat to the hustle and bustle of the winter holiday season.
Even those without ongoing health issues should make several doctor visits each year. Schedule your annual checkup with your primary care doctor, see your dentist for your twice-a-year exam, and visit your eye doctor for a checkup. Sexually active women should see their gynecologist once a year.
#5—Maintain a Safe Home
Fall is a good time to make sure that your home’s safety features are in good working order. Take time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and change the batteries. Make sure that fire extinguishers are easily accessible and are at full pressure.
Also, add an HVAC filter to your shopping list. Filters should be changed every couple of months, especially during seasonal changes, to keep your home clean and your family breathing healthy air.
For more great autumn health tips download our free 10 Tips to Enjoy a Happy and Healthy Fall Season guide.
Jillian C. Smith, MD, is the Medical Director of Cooper’s Urgent Care Centers.