Kidney Diet Tips

6 Tips to Stay Healthy this Winter

Colds, viruses, and germs seem to thrive during the winter months. We see more people sniffling, and sneezing and complaining of not feeling well. For patients on dialysis staying healthy and making it to every dialysis treatment is important. The following simple tips may help you to stay healthy during the winter months.

Wash Your Hands

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of germs to help stay healthy. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and clean running water frequently throughout the day. Frequent hand washing will to help decrease germs and reduce the risk of contracting a gastrointestinal (GI) illness or respiratory infection. (1) If you go to a dialysis center for treatment, always wash your hands prior to entering the treatment area. This can help to reduce the spread of germs at the dialysis center.

Get Your Flu Shot

Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be more susceptible to illness if they have a weakened immune system. Getting immunizations is an important part of overall kidney care. With the flu season just getting started, it’s not too late to get your flu shot. According to the CDC, flu vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza and potentially serious complications (2). Take this action to stay healthy before the flu hits your area.

Eat a Well Balanced Kidney-Friendly Diet

Keep your diet healthy by choosing fresh seasonal winter produce.  When it’s cold outside choose one of these dinners for cold winter nights. There are great recipes ideas and tips on , for instance this article, Seven Kidney Diet Foods to Fight Winter Time Blues.  Or try one of these slow cooker recipes from, to add variety to your kidney-friendly diet.  A slow cooker is a convenient way to have meals ready and waiting when you get home from dialysis treatment. Freeze leftovers for quick meals a few weeks later.

Watch Your Fluid Intake

The winter weather can be rough on the skin. Dialysis patients frequently complain of dry, itchy, skin and this can become worse during the winter months. Unscented lotion and lip balms can help to keep skin and lips well moisturized. Make sure to drink an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated, but within your fluid limit. Going over your daily fluid allowance may put you at increased risk for hospitalization. Stay healthy by counting your fluid intake each day. If you are unsure about your fluid goal, talk to your dialysis dietitian.

Get Enough Rest

Many individuals with CKD complain of sleep issues. High quality sleep is important to help reduce stress and keep energy levels up during the day. Try to make your sleeping area comfortable and relaxing. Avoiding caffeine, and reducing artificial light (TV, computer, electronic devices) close to bedtime may make it easier to fall and stay asleep.


There are so many benefits to exercise that help you stay healthy. Some of these include improved digestion, increased energy levels, improved sleep quality, stress reduction and lower blood pressure. The winter weather in many areas stops people from getting outside and being active. There are lots of ways that patients with kidney disease can be active indoors. Exercising indoors is a great way to help improve your overall health. Don’t forget to speak to your doctor for recommendations based on your fitness level.



Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                      

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Jennifer Smart MS, RD, LDN

Jennifer Smart MS, RD, LDN

Jennifer Smart has been a registered dietitian for 14 years with 10 years of renal experience. Nutrition topics of interest include malnutrition and nutrition Informatics. She lives in Maryland with her spouse, a retired US Marine, and her very energetic son. When she is not focusing on nutrition Jennifer enjoys fiber arts, gardening, beach combing and restoring furniture.