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7 hacks to help nurses as the temperatures drop

From protecting your skin to conditioning your hair, get through fall and winter being your best
Amy Leavell Bransford applies her DIY yogurt facial mask at her Atlanta salon June 30, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Amy Leavell Bransford applies her DIY yogurt facial mask at her Atlanta salon June 30, 2020. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Nurses face a barrage of stressors during colder months, including weather and coming into contact with germs from patients and family members.

Try these hacks to stay healthy and comfortable through fall and winter:

1. Protect your hands. The skin on your hands is thin, and with cold air, wind, and repeated hand washing and sanitizing, it takes a beating during the winter. NurseRx.com recommends wearing gloves to protect your hands whenever you go outside. And when you go to bed, slather a good moisturizing hand cream on and wear a pair of light cotton gloves as you sleep. The cream will then have all night to soften your skin.

2. Ward off stress. You’re exposed to germs from patients and family members throughout your shift, and if you’re under stress, your body will find it harder to fight off illnesses like a cold. Thehealthy.com recommends getting enough sleep at night and meditating, running, listening to music or pursuing another activity that helps you feel relaxed.

3. Keep your car well stocked. Even if roads are snowy or icy, nurses are still expected to report to work. This calls for having an emergency kit in your car, according to nurse.com. Keep your vehicle equipped with items like a blanket, an extra jacket, gloves, socks, and sand or kitty litter. A few snacks are also a good idea, as is a snow brush and small shovel. Atlanta may not get the type of weather that some other parts of the country can see, but we can still get snow and ice that lead to hazardous conditions or even a driving standstill.

4. Layer your clothing. Baby, it’s cold outside during winter, and then you’re probably coming inside to face an extremely chilly hospital or doctor’s office. Layering is key to staying warm and being able to shed garments if you’re running around and working up a sweat. Nurses suggest wearing long underwear pants made of silk, since they’re warm but not bulky. A tank-top camisole, wool socks and fingerless gloves are also recommended.

5. Use a rejuvenating hair mask. Wage war on winter flyaway hair with a homemade mask from nursebuff.com that will leave your strands strong and soft. Put two tablespoons of coconut oil, one ripe avocado and one ripe banana in a blender until they’re well mixed. Put it on your hair and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Rinse it clean with shampoo and put on conditioner afterward.

6. Boost your immune system with power foods. Add some healthy power foods to your diet to help keep your body in peak condition. Pumpkin is easy to puree and add to oatmeal or nonfat Greek yogurt, or you can cube some, roast it and toss it in a salad. You’ll be getting relatively few calories but a healthy dose of vitamin A. Raw cranberries (not the sauce that plops out of a can at Thanksgiving) are packed with lots of fiber. And finally, chunks of avocado have healthy fats as well as fiber and are delicious in a salad or on a veggie omelet.

7. Get a flu shot. Nurses often urge their patients to get a flu shot, but unless their employers require it, some nurses may skip the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all U.S. health care providers get a flu shot to protect yourself, your family and your patients.

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