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Posted 12/12/2017

What’s the Forecast for Minnesotans this Winter – Weather and Health-Wise?

According to Paul Pastelok, the Northern Plains are in for a real treat this winter. “Arctic cold blasts are expected to plunge Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and most of Missouri into the deep freeze on a regular basis, but the drier, colder air will carry less moisture, so huge, frequent snowfalls shouldn't be a problem.” Less snow maybe, but all that cold will keep folks inside which is a significant factor in the spread of germs. You see it isn't the cold weather that causes the common cold, but rather what we do when it gets cold out. "When the weather turns cold," says Segal-Maurer, "we all run indoors, where the air is recycled, and we're often in close quarters with other people and viruses. We all sneeze on top of each other." While weather predictions are common, those in the healthcare field are less likely than their weather-forecasting comrades to make predictions as it relates to illness. Influenza viruses, whose favorite season is winter, are among the most unpredictable critters around. These constantly-mutating germs tend to humiliate those bold enough to forecast the severity of an upcoming flu season. Still, some flu experts are a bit worried by signals they feel may suggest we’re facing a nasty flu season. “A lot of it depends on how good of a match the vaccine is for the strain circulating in the community. We predict almost a year ahead of time because that’s how long it takes to make the vaccine,” says Dr. Alex Granok. The vaccine is seen as a frontline defense against the troublesome at best, and dangerous at worst, influenza virus that takes lives each year. While it’s best to get vaccinated early, before the flu is spreading through your community, the adage “better late than never” applies as even later in the season, vaccinations can still be beneficial. Additional Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter: 1. Use the Right Soap Wash your hands often goes without saying, right? It just makes sense. Well, recent recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration have weighed in on soap options. Studies have found antibacterial soap is not more effective against germs than regular soap and may contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Their recommendations? Scrub with basic soap and water for a full 20 seconds. Also, avoid handshakes, opting instead for a fist or elbow bump. 2. Keep your Tank Fueled Keep your body functioning at your optimal level by refueling with plenty of sleep and nutritious food. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is one of the easiest ways to maintain a robust immune system. Lack of sleep is known to lessen the body’s ability to fight illness. The same goes for the “other fuel” that keeps your body functioning. A diet rich in vegetables—especially the dark, leafy varieties—fruit, healthy fats, and soluble fiber prepares the body to fight the invasion of germs and viruses so prevalent in the winter. 3. Keep Moving and Hydrated Another cold-weather threat to a healthy winter is the temptation to skimp on, or totally ditch, an established exercise regimen, especially if said routine involves outside activities. Find indoor alternatives or gather the necessary equipment and outerwear to brave the elements. Either way, be committed to staying active. Hydration is crucial any time of the year, but it’s especially essential when dry winter air tends to zap moisture. Because we’re not sweating buckets, we can forget the need to hydrate. Get in the habit of carrying a bottle of water and ask for refills at restaurants. Of course, staying healthy keeps workers on the job, but winter still brings unique staffing needs. The team at MPS Technical is ready, willing, and able to meet those needs. Contact us today and allow MPS to be your staffing partner.