Staying healthy in winter

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

During the colder months, it's important to take preventative measures to avoid getting sicknesses such as the common cold or flu.


We are more likely to get sick in winter due to a few reasons, such as:


So, here are some ways to stay healthy in winter.


Support your immune system

The strength of your immune system determines how well you will fight illness. If you do get sick over winter and have a strong immune system, you may experience lesser symptoms and be sick for a shorter amount of time.


Boosting your immunity is a combination of eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, avoiding or limiting alcohol intake, avoiding smoking and minimising stress.


Eat the right foods

In winter, we often reach for unhealthy comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese or fast foods. During winter, we especially need to consider what we eat. Opt for a healthy, balanced diet with fruit and vegetables.



Stay hydrated


If you struggle to drink two litres of water a day, try making your water more interesting by adding lemon, lime, fresh ginger or fresh mint. You can also add these ingredients to warm water instead of drink coffee or tea.

We may gravitate towards a hot cup of coffee or tea more frequently in winter, but it's important to note that they cause dehydration. Try to limit your intake, and for each cup you drink, drink an additional cup of water.

Also, make sure you aim for at least two litres of water a day. Bring a water bottle around with you to help the likelihood of reaching two litres.

If you don't like drinking plain water, try adding a dash of lemon, fresh ginger or fresh mint. You can also drink warm water with those additions, not only will it help keep cosy but warm water aids digestion.




Exercise

In the cold winter, it can be hard to summon the energy to do any kind of physical activity. However, exercise is essential to boost your immune system and to avoid sickness. Try for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily, or a minimum of three to four half-hour sessions a week.




Get enough sleep


Avoid using your mobile phone or other screens in your bedroom. Set you alarm ahead of time, or consider buying an alarm clock.

Adequate sleep in the region of seven and a half to nine hours a night is essential for a healthy immune system.


If you have difficulty switching off at night, try and stay away from phones and screens for an hour before bed, take a warm bath, drink a warm cup of herbal (caffeine free!) tea.


If you feel like you are always tired, read our article why am I always tired for more information.




Vitamin D deficiency

Due to the scarcity of the sun in winter, and how little time we spend outdoors, vitamin D deficiency is more common. If you would like to check your vitamin D and other vitamin levels such as iron, see your doctor to arrange a blood test.




Help prevent the flu with the flu vaccination

Prevention is always the best method, especially when it comes to the flu. Even with a strong immune system, avoiding the flu can be difficult.


The flu vaccination (or flu shot) can help you steer clear of the flu and minimise the spread of the illness. For the elderly, young, pregnant and those with compromised immune systems, and sometimes even healthy people, the flu can incur serious complications that can be fatal.


If you do get the flu shot and still get the flu, your symptoms are often much lesser, and it doesn't usually last as long.




If you would like to see one of our doctors, please call us on 03 9741 1200 or book an appointment online.


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