Preschool children playing together at school
Seasonal Tips

Fall into Healthy Habits

It’s hard when summertime comes to an end. For many, it means shifting back to school or work and perhaps a less relaxed lifestyle. Family medicine doctor Cindy Siu, MD, of Bayhealth Primary Care, Airport Road, offers some tips to ease the seasonal transition.

While it may be easier in summer to get exercise in during longer daylight hours and eat healthy with lots of produce in season, it’s important to keep up those healthy routines in fall, said Dr. Siu. Doing so will boost your immunity to better handle fall allergies and fend off germs as cold and flu season arrives.

“Maintaining healthy eating and exercise keeps you well and also helps with energy levels and mood, which dip for some as days get shorter,” Dr. Siu said. Meal planning and incorporating frozen fruits and vegetables are good ways for families with busy schedules to have nutritious meals on hand and avoid slipping into fast foods or other convenient but unhealthy options.

The biggest fall allergy trigger is ragweed. When allergy symptoms flare up, sinus and upper respiratory infections are more common. If you’re working outdoors on your lawn or garden, Dr. Siu suggests wearing a facemask and immediately washing your body and clothes afterwards to avoid spreading pollen throughout your home.

Staying hydrated is crucial in cooler months too. “Drinking plenty of water thins out mucus so your body can get rid of it more easily,” said Dr. Siu. Over-the-counter antihistamines can provide relief and are safe for most people. For babies, parents can suction out excess mucus with a bulb syringe to improve congestion. “Saline nasal rinses, or breathing in steam from a hot shower or bending over a large bowl or sink of hot water with a towel over your head are good preventative measures for allergy sufferers.”