Living with HIV: How To Stay Healthy As The Seasons Change
How do you stay healthy while living with HIV as the seasons change?
Between life stressors (AKA holidays and work deadlines), the shifting temperatures, and flu season, everyone is at risk of getting sick this time of year, but people living with HIV – even those who are undetectable – should take extra care.
“It’s harder to get over simple things, and simple things could turn into more dramatic illnesses,” explains Josh Robbins, a DatingPositives spokesperson and HIV advocate.
We asked Josh, who has been living with HIV for 7 years, if he has any health tips and precautions, and he responded with these 5 ways to stay healthy as the seasons change.
1) Flu shot – get one.
2) Increase your vitamin D intake.
When we’re out in the sun and our skin is exposed to sunlight, the body responds and makes vitamin D from cholesterol. As the seasons change and the weather gets colder, people tend to stay indoors, and when they do go out, they cover up. The result is a lack of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is associated with calcium and strong bones, but it’s also one of the vitamins that helps keep the immune system strong.
Robbins suggests taking a vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter months to compensate. You should have no trouble finding one at your pharmacy. If you’re looking for foods with vitamin D, some examples are: egg yolks, salmon, and mushrooms.
3) “I get a a fake sun light to make my room have sunshine.”
Seasonal depression is real and can affect people mentally and physically. As the hours of sunlight shorten, it can be beneficial to have a substitute for the sun.
“I have undiagnosed seasonal depression,” says Josh. “Having sunlight inside makes me feel way less depressed and more productive, and I think that does positively impact my health during the fall and winter.”
4) Eat healthier.
Some of us are used to eating garbage in the winter and then stepping up our game for swimsuit season. Josh’s advice is practically the opposite: eat healthier in the fall and winter.
It makes sense. You might not be going out or working out as often because of cold weather. That, plus consuming unhealthy foods during Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas time will not do your immune system any good.
Drink lots of water. Go easy on processed foods. Try to include fiber in your diet. And green things. Your immune system will thank you.
5) Try to get enough sleep.
Catching those z’s will help keep you from catching those colds.
With all the pressures coming at you, be it from school, work, family, or all of the above, make sure you take some time for yourself and for your sleep schedule.