Keeping Healthy This Winter
Although many people welcome the winter with its cold crisp days, snow and crackling fires you are 80% more likely to get a cold or flu in the winter months so it pays to take a little bit more care of yourself. This is especially important for babies, children, pregnant women and those with a disability or chronic, long standing health condition and these people may want to consider having a flu jab which is available from your Doctor’s Surgery. It is advisable to give your immune system a boost to help your body fight viral or bacterial infections.
Start the process by trying to ensure you have a good night’s sleep. Around one third of Britons suffer with some degree of insomnia or sleep disturbance and rather than rushing straight to the Doctor for sleeping tablets we would urge you to try some common sense remedies first.
- Establish a “bedtime routine” and try to go to bed around the same time each night.
- Ensure you have a comfortable bed and that the heating, lighting and noise levels are adjusted as far as possible to suit you.
- Reduce intakes of caffeine and alcohol especially in the evening before retiring to bed.
- Avoid eating heavy meals late at night as this can make you uncomfortable and interfere with your sleep pattern.
- Try to relax before attempting to go to sleep – use of computers or watching TV can overstimulate your mind and make getting to sleep more difficult.
- Try sprinkling lavender oil on your pillow or burning the oil in your bedroom.
- Try drinking one of the bedtime or relaxing teas or a hot milky drink before bed.
Keep warm by wearing appropriate clothing and taking some exercise each day. Remember that central heating is very drying and it is important to keep well hydrated so drink plenty of fluids. Your skin is likely to be dry as well and prone to chapping so try to moisturise your skin after your bath or shower and again before bed using good quality natural, organic products.
A lot of us feel a bit lower in spirits in the winter with lack of sunshine and shorter days and some people experience quite severe symptoms called Seasonal Affective Disorder. For mild symptoms you may want to try St John’s Wort available as tablets, tincture or as a tea but consult your Doctor if you are taking other medication
Outbreaks of cold sores can be more frequent especially if you are run down or stressed causing embarrassment and irritation. The essential amino acid, L-Lysine is thought to help with this condition as are lemon balm and aloe vera.
Do look at our range of teas and try new ones that complement the Winter Season and suit your needs. Ginger helps with congestion as well as warming the body and its anti- inflammatory properties can help with sore throats. Tulsi also known as Holy Basil has anti -viral and anti -bacterial properties, sage eases sore throats and helps to dry up sinuses, liquorice is immune boosting as well as throat soothing, thyme has anti-bacterial compounds in it and of course the Christmas Teas are full of seasonal Spices and taste and smell good !
Even if you don’t take vitamins or supplements in the summer months you might want to consider taking some in the winter such as Echinacea, Fish Oils, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium and Vitamin C. Our immune systems are complex and seek to destroy anything “foreign” such as bacteria or viruses that enter our bodies. Omega 3 can increase and activate production of certain white blood cells thereby increasing our ability to fight disease. There is evidence that taking probiotics can ward off infections in both adults and children by improving the body’s resistance to viruses and bacteria. Echinacea is a herb that is well documented for its immune boosting properties available as tablets, tincture or lozenges and can be taken all year round. The lack of sunshine makes it difficult for our bodies to manufacture enough Vitamin D so it is recommended to take a supplement of 5,000-10,000 IU daily and more when unwell. Zinc and Vitamin C together are thought to help ward off colds & flu and minimise symptoms if already infected along with selenium – another immune booster.
Many sufferers from arthritis feel their symptoms worsen in the cold and particularly damp weather. Top tips for dealing with this include keeping warm, keeping up with gentle exercise, taking care in snow and ice, losing weight and considering taking supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, rosehip, turmeric or a glucosamine/chondroitin complex.
We wish all our customers well in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas and hope you keep in good health and find some of our tips helpful.