General

Winter Health Risks

With autumn and winter on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about the risks to your health these seasons can bring with them. Heat waves and dehydration are likely to be less urgent problems, but there’s still plenty you need to be aware of. When you know the risks you can take a few simple steps to help mitigate and feel confident as you go about your day to day life.

Flu

One of the most regular seasonal health risks is the flu season. Many people are vulnerable to the virus, and to the complications that can come with it, from those over 65 (even if they don’t consider themselves ‘elderly’), to residents of care homes, and those with chronic health conditions like asthma or kidney disease.

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu: wearing masks when you travel, washing your hands regularly and ensuring you get the flu vaccine. If you’re looking for a flu mask, N95 is the classification to get. These are the respirator masks that protect you from incoming viral particles, as well as helping to stop you passing them on.

Asthma Attacks

If you suffer from this common respiratory illness, you need to be aware that asthma attacks are more common in the freezing temperatures of winter.

Make sure you wrap up warm: if you have no choice but to stay outside for long periods in cold conditions, invest in some high end insulating clothing. Better yet, avoid the cold altogether and take your winter exercise indoors at the gym.

Seasonal Depression

There are lots of things that can cause a plunge in mental health during the winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder refers to low mood brought on by the lack of sunlight during the winter months. In addition to this, winter comes with stressful family holidays built in: Christmas and Thanksgiving are almost as notorious as triggers for depression and anxiety as they are for goodwill.

Make sure you’re practising basic self-care as a bolster against this depressing season: practice good sleep hygiene and try to get eight hours of sleep a night, and ensure you’re active during daylight hours to take full advantage of the sunlight that does exist!

If you’re trapped with family during the holiday period and that becomes a source of stress, try to find ways to escape: chores you can complete alone, or friends you can visit as a rest from family troubles.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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