Zurich – It’s almost winter in the UK and rest of Europe, and with the temperatures outdoors already beginning to drop, it’s important to look after your health to avoid being struck down with the seasonal flu.
While you can catch colds and flu at any time of year, they are most common during the winter months. According to Dr William Bird, medical consultant of the Meteorological Office’s Health Forecast Unit, December is when infections tend to become prevalent. Although getting ill is sometimes unpreventable, there are a number of things you can do to keep your health in good check, which can help to minimise your chances of coming down with illness. Aside from getting the flu jab, which is perhaps the most obvious way to avoid catching the flu, here are some other useful tips:
Of course, the winter period means that temperatures outside can reach minus degrees. It is crucial, therefore, to keep warm to avoid catching a chill and falling ill. After all, the last thing you want is to be shivering so much that your body begins to feel numb! Your head, hands and feet are the areas of the body that lose heat quickest, so make sure you wrap up with a hat, gloves and woollen socks before you head outdoors.
Drink plenty of water
Although you may not feel as thirsty in the colder months as you would in summer, that’s not to say your body won’t become dehydrated. It is important to keep hydrated just as much in winter as in the warmer months, as being dehydrated can weaken your immune system. Therefore, drink the recommended eight glasses of water each day to help flush out any toxins and keep you in tip-top condition.
It can be tricky to keep fit and active when it’s cold and raining outdoors, since the option to sit in the warmth inside is a lot more desirable. This won’t work wonders on your health and immune system though, so it’s a good idea to keep active even during the winter months. Whether you go for a long walk, to a yoga class or the gym, keeping active will help to boost your body’s natural defence mechanisms and ward off the pesky flu.
Wash your hands
Most cold and flu bacteria are carried in the air, but they can also be found on everyday items such as taps, door handles and even coins. Therefore, you should be extra cautious and wash your hands regularly. It is also a good idea to carry a bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you, to freshen up on-the-go. This will help to kill any germs and minimise your risk of contracting infection. Remember, frequently washing your hands combined with the cold weather can cause your hands to dry out, so it’s worth carrying a tube of hand lotion with you too.
Disrupted or a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your immune system, causing it to become weaker and leaving you more susceptible to infections. This is the last thing you need at any time of year, let alone throughout winter, so make sure you sleep soundly by going to bed and waking up at the same time each evening and morning. (dacadoo/mc/hfu)