Autumn Winter Health
As we head into October and cold and flu season fast approaches, staying healthy can be tough to maintain without a plan. Here we look at a number of ways to help us stay healthy this winter.
As simple as this sounds, we should always be diligent about washing our hands during the winter. Many illnesses are going around during this time of year. We should avoid accidentally infecting ourselves by touching surfaces with germs and viruses on them and then touching our face or eating. Regular hand washing coupled with the use of hand sanitizers can pay dividends to help prevent any nasty germs spreading.
Vitamins, Vitamins Vitamins!
Aside from a balanced, healthy diet, make sure that you get lots of Vitamin C each day. Vitamin C can help your immune system stay healthy and strong and can support muscle recovery, nerve and soft tissues health. If your not a fan of fruits and veggies, or you know you simply don’t get enough in your diet, you can easily take supplements to get your Vitamin C each day.
Shorter days, darker nights and more time indoors can make us feel low. The lack of sunlight also means that many of us aren’t getting the right amount of Vitamin D, which can also contribute to low mood. What sets vitamin D apart from other nutrients is the fact that it can be synthesized by the human body through the action of sunlight. The new advice from PHE is that adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter.
Caring for your nutritional and dietary health can help keep your immune system strong and your body healthy during cold and flu season. Diet and vitamins are crucial to your overall well-being.
Always consult to your GP or Pharmacist before commencing any vitamin or supplement plans.
Get Lots of Rest
After a year of the hustle and bustle, we deserve a long winter sleep. Winter season is the perfect time to improve our sleep and stay relaxed. Sleep is restorative and we need to make sure that we are getting good sleep if we want to stay healthy. This should be a year-round goal but the winter is a significant time to make sleep a priority for your needs. Getting enough sleep every night can help your body to heal and promote a strong immune system.
Sleep is also good for preventing anxiety which can lead to increased cortisol in your body. Cortisol stresses your immune system, and you should try and make sure that you keep your stress to a minimum if you want to be healthy year-round. Winter is a great time to get a little extra sleep each night since the daylight is gone so much earlier, and it is easy to get lots of hours of sleep because of the extra hours of darkness.
Ready to put the heating on? One of the key issues with central heating is that it can make very dry indoor air conditions. If you have a lung condition such as asthma, this can cause symptoms to flare up. Central heating can also irritate the nose, which can exacerbate sinus infections and nasal congestion. If you have sinusitis, central heating dries out your sinuses, which can lead to a worsening of the condition. A room that's too hot can also lead to dehydration and, as a result, headaches or if you are prone to them, migraines.
While high temperatures can be bad for your health, so are cold rooms. Therefore it is important to find a comfortable temperature. A recommended room temperature is about 18°C for your bedroom and 21°C for your living rooms and work spaces, which will not only benefit your health but help to lower energy bills too.
Staying free of the flu means you can get on with your life, rather than battling illness over winter. Flu can make you seriously ill, and you are more at risk if you are older or have a heart or circulatory condition. You can get the free NHS flu jab if you’re over 65 or have certain long-term conditions. There are a number of pharmacies offering Flu Vaccinations for a small cost- Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine - NHS - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Colder weather can wreak havoc on your system, leaving your skin parched and body dehydrated. Even though your thirst response diminishes because of low temperature, staying well-hydrated during winter is as crucial as it is during the summer season. In cold climates, body fluid losses can be as high as those in hot climates because of high rates of energy expenditure, use of heavy clothing and increased losses in urine.
Don’t fancy cold water on a cold day?
Warm it up. Instead of forcing yourself to gulp down glasses of cold water, drink warm water plain or infused, homemade smoothies and healthy hot beverages like green tea, cinnamon tea and hot chocolate for a treat. Eat hydrating foods like orange ( also a high source of Vitamin C), oatmeal, melons, celery, strawberries and yogurt are great ways to sneak in more water into your daily diet.
Eating homemade soups made with seasonal vegetables and herbs can also help you stay hydrated while providing warmth and nourishment to your body.
Hydrate Your Skin
Cold weather can cause dry skin, flaking, cracking and even eczema. Keep your skin healthy and moisturized through the winter by drinking plenty of water, hydrating your skin with and using sunscreen while outside. Keeping your skin soft and healthy will help to avoid painful irritations, infections, and more. Don’t forget your lips. The skin on the lips is so thin and fragile, the harsh conditions can truly damage it. And we all know how attractive parched lips are. Don’t go anywhere without a lip balm.
Social health is more than being socially active. It is about redefining bonds, compassion, love, and gratitude. People and healthy relationships are medicine to our social well-being.
Your social health depends on the emotional connection you share with other people. It is about creating quality and healthy relationships with co-workers or family.
So, focusing on your social wellness should be on your winter health goals to avoid the gloomy season.
Blog written by Emma James
Director of Support Services