Winter Health: Top tips for dealing with winter illness

131218121050-winter-health-myths-3-horizontal-large-gallerySome health problems, such as asthma, sore throat and cold sores, are triggered by cold weather. Here’s how to help your body deal with cold weather ailments.

Colds: You can prevent colds by washing your hands regularly. This destroys the bugs you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people.

TIP: use disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs to avoid constantly reinfecting your own hands

Sore throats: Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections.

TIP: Gargle with warm, salty water. It won’t healt the infection, but its anti-inflammatory properties will have a soothing effect. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water.

Asthma: Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

TIP: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf over your mouth and nose.

Norovirus: Also known as winter vomiting bug. It’s unpleasant but normally over within a couple of days.

TIP: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration

Painful joints: Many people with arthritis say their joints become more painful in winter.

TIP: Some people get a little depressed during winter and this can make everything feel worse. Daily exercise can boost your mental and physical state, and swimming is ideal as it’s easy on the joints.

Heart attacks: Are more common in winter. This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart.

TIP: Stay warm at home. Keep the main rooms you use at 21 degrees C. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.

Cold hands: Fingers can go white, then blue, then red and throb and tingle. It’s a sign of poor circulation in the small blood vessels in the hands and feet.

TIP: Don’t smoke or drink caffeine as they can both worsen the symptoms. Always wrap up well in the cold.

Dry skin: Is a common condition and often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low.

TIP: have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot make skin feel more dry and itchy.

Flu: Is a major killer of the elderly and people with long term health problems, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

TIP: Find out if you’re in a high risk group by asking your GP and have a vaccination if you are.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is one of the most common reasons for people being admitted to hospital during the winter.


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