Richmond Practice - How to stay healthy this winter

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How to stay healthy this winter

By Dr Sebastian Winckler MSc, Private GP

Every winter it is the same story, almost everybody (80%) seems to be running around with a sore throat, a stuffy or runny nose or a cough. Unfortunately, most of us will not be able to avoid this by simply migrating a couple of thousand miles to sunnier shores. This year especially we are bracing ourselves for a particularly cold winter.

Evidence-based measures to boost your immune system

Regular exercise, ideally outside and during daylight hours
Don't use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity – there is an ice-rink set-up at Strawberry Hill House and you could also try the one-mile of sparkle open at Kew Gardens from 25 November to 2 January 2016.

Sufficient sleep
It's perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold, you may use the time to catch-up on sleep.

A healthy and balanced diet
When it's cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food. A concerted effort to eat healthily will boost your immune system.

It is also not that commonly known that dairy products such as milk and yoghurt are recommended as great sources of vitamins A and B12 and good for you in winter.

Supplements
Vitamin C and Zinc supplements can reduce the duration and severity of a common cold
Vitamin D supplements can help, especially if you have darker skin or if you cover up outside.

Light therapy
Light therapy that strikes the retina of the eye can be used to treat seasonal affective disorders (SAD).
It raises your mood and prevents depression.

Hand hygiene
Frequent hand-washing reduces the infection rates considerably. Carry with you a small bottle of alcohol hand gel to help disinfect your hands.

When to see your doctor?
If you feel unwell with a cough or cold, consult your doctor when:
  • flu symptoms last longer than a week
  • you develop a bacterial chest infection as a complication to your cough or cold
  • you are over 65, or pregnant, or have an underlying disease, or a weak immune system
  • for a flu jab or nasal spray (children), that will protect you and others who are vulnerable

For a same day appointment please contact us on 020 8940 5009 or at mail@richmondpractice.co.uk. For more information visit richmondpractice.co.uk

 

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