With Christmas just around the corner, the rush to get everything in order for the big day has already begun. From sourcing a fabulously festive outfit to perfecting that Christmas menu and sorting a seating plan to prevent the annual family argument, we cover off everything…But what about our health?
The arrival of winter brings with it an increased risk of picking up illnesses, with unpredictable weather triggering or worsening many conditions, such as asthma, flu and the norovirus. With a higher risk of picking up bugs at this time of year, now is the time to really step up your health regime to stay fighting fit and avoid the nasty viruses. The last thing any of us want is for the flu to ruin our Christmas…
Clean up your act: As we come into contact with so many people each day, and with more of us choosing to hibernate indoors when the temperature drops, it doesn’t take long for viruses to spread. Flu is one of the nastiest viruses to catch at winter and can knock you out for up to two weeks. For flu alone, it takes coming into contact with just 30-50 spores for the illness to develop in others, and considering each time we sneeze, millions or spores are released, it’s easy to see how contagious it is. Being extra-vigilant when it comes to hygiene is very important.
Wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap and carry hand sanitiser with you so you can keep your hands clean on the go.
Take a similar approach to surfaces: clean areas which get used often – such as tables, keyboards, phones and door handles – with an antibacterial spray to kill off any potential germs.
Rug up: Wrapping up warm during winter lowers your chances of picking up the flu, colds or even more serious conditions. Wear several layers as opposed to one big woolly jumper, as the layers will trap the heat and keep you warmer for longer. When at home, keep your room temperature no lower than 18°C, and drink plenty of hot drinks to keep you toasty.
Sprouts, not just for Christmas: Food is what fuels your body, so you need to keep your energy levels up by eating the right foods regularly. Zinc – found in spinach, cashew nuts and lean chicken – can help to boost a flagging immune system, while vitamin C – found in citrus fruit, chilli and Brussels sprouts (everyone’s favourite) – can help to reduce the amount of time it takes to fight a virus. One hearty, hot meal a day will keep you warm from the inside out.
Stay hydrated: Hydration is key to staying healthy at any time of the year. Drinking eight glasses of water every day will help to keep your kidneys working and flush out toxins from your body.
40 winks: Research has found that not getting enough sleep can make you three times more likely to pick up the cold or flu virus, so ensuring you get a good night’s sleep is vital for keeping healthy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, ensure your room is between 18-24°C, choose a mattress with the right level of support for you, and consider fitting black out blinds to make your room the ideal environment for the perfect sleep.
Get active!: While you may want to spend winter hibernating under a duvet, it is important that you stay active. Even just light exercise, such as a 15 minute walk, can help to stimulate your cells to fight infection, as well as help to improve your mental health too.
Get your jab in!: One of the easiest ways you can ensure you don’t catch the flu is to go and get your flu jab. Everyone should have the flu jab whether you are classed as being in good health or fall into the ‘at risk’ category. The flu is highly contagious and can knock anyone off their feet for weeks – not ideal over the Christmas period!
While many otherwise healthy people will get over the virus in 2-3 weeks with plenty of bed rest and fluids, it can have much more serious complications if spread to others, such as the elderly, pregnant, or those with underlying health conditions.
The flu jab itself won’t give you the flu either. It contains only inactive particles and prevents you from getting flu, and therefore stops you from passing it on to anyone more vulnerable too. You can get yours at any local pharmacy without an appointment today.
To learn more about the flu jab or find your nearest participating pharmacy, please visit careway.co.uk
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