Now that the frost is settling in and Christmas is around the corner, we know that winter has arrived. Many of us continue as normal and don’t consider that in later years it’s important to take extra care of your health and safety at this time of year.
To ensure that you stay well, you need to make sure that you keep warm, stay healthy and protect yourself with vaccines.
1. Stay on the Move
Keeping active is something that we mention time and time again to have a general healthy lifestyle. This is even more relevant in the winter months. It keeps you up and about while helping to generate heat and stimulate your blood flow. It’s easy to go in to hibernation mode with your favourite TV shows and ignore the cold outside. Try not to sit down for over an hour in one go. Make sure you get up and walk around. This could be to make a hot drink or to do a few cleaning jobs about the place. Chair based exercises are also great if you have reduced mobility. This can be anything from moving your legs and arms to wiggling your toes. If you do like to keep active, there are some activities that do not require you to face all weathers. Read our previous article with tips on how to stay active this season.
2. Eat Well
Sometimes you may feel as though you don’t have much of an appetite, especially if you have cut down on your exercise for the winter months. While it’s important not to overeat, you should ensure that you are getting at least one hot meal per day and having hot drinks as well. This will help you to keep warm and well. Make sure you are keeping a healthy balanced diet with a range of fruit and vegetables. If you aren’t getting to the shops as much, get frozen vegetables which will keep for longer. It’s important to eat well in winter to keep your strength and energy up. If you are feeling poorly, try some of our immune boosting food tips to naturally improve your health.
3. Get your Flu Jab
If you’re over 65, it is recommended that you get a flu jab, and the best thing about it is it’s free! Flu viruses are constantly changing so make sure you take advantage of this fantastic service each year to get the best protection possible. You may think that a cold isn’t worth protecting but flu can be extremely unpleasant and could also develop into pneumonia which is very serious. Ask your GP about getting yours as soon as possible.
It takes up to 10 days for the vaccine to take effect so it would be more beneficial to get it earlier on (although it’s still not too late). You may feel slight pain in your vaccinated arm and your muscles may ache for a couple of days, although these side effects are rare.
4. Get your “Pneumo” Jab
The “pneumo” jab is slightly different to the flu jab in that it’s a one-off. /this vaccine protects you against a lot of illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. Ask your GP about it to check your records and make sure you get one if you haven’t already.
Keep good Hygiene
Good hand hygiene is essential this time of year to help to prevent the spread of viruses. Make sure you wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap. Try to clean work surfaces clean such as your telephone and door handles. Use tissues to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and put them in the bin as soon as you have used them.
5. Keep Warm and Prevent Chilblains
Being cold is bad enough, without the irritation and pain of chilblains. Chilblains are itchy red swellings that occur when your skin gets cold and you try to warm up too quickly. If you are out in the cold and then sit by a radiator or have a hot bath, this irritation can be quite common. If you do suffer from them, you can use calamine lotion or witch hazel to reduce itching.
To help prevent chilblains, ensure that you keep your whole body warm at all times. Make sure you wear lots of layers and keep your house warm. For tips on how to stay warm this winter, read our previous article.
Make sure you stay healthy and safe this winter and don’t forget about neighbours and friends who may need some help. Age UK has a fantastic campaign on this winter called “Spread the Warmth”. If you or someone you know needs help, take a look at the website and get involved.