Public Health

Tips For a Healthy Winter

Many health conditions are particularly linked to climatic conditions, so advice must be followed to help protect against those diseases most associated with the winter season. Dry winter air also weakens the natural mucus barrier in the nose, mouth, and lungs, exposing the body to infection with viruses that cause colds or influenza. 

Categories Most at Risk of Cold Weather:
    • People aged 65 and over.
    • Infants and children under 5 years of age.
    • Low-income people (cannot afford heating).
    • People with a long-term health condition
    • ​Persons with disabilities
    • Pregnant
    • People with mental problems.
Most Important Recommendations for a Healthy Winter:
  1. Prevention of influenza and colds:
Colds and influenza are especially common in winter season, as there are more than 200 viruses that cause colds, and it is possible to recover from it faster if the infected person takes a lot of rest and maintains body moisture.
As for influenza, it is caused by a different group of viruses, and it is a more serious health condition that can lead to death. Antibiotics are not an appropriate treatment for colds or influenza because antibiotics target bacteria, not viruses, so you must:
    • Take the flu vaccine.
    • Covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or when using the inner elbow.
    • Throw tissues in the trash after using them.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after coughing or sneezing.
    • Clean surfaces and objects (such as doorknobs, keyboards, phones, and toys) regularly.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, where germs spread in this way.
    • Avoid close contact with people who have a flu-like illness.
    • Get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong.
If you have flu-like symptoms, you should:
  • staying at home
  • Limit contact with other people to prevent infection from being transmitted to them.
  • Be careful not to double the dose when taking the medicine.
   2- Eat healthy food:
Eating a diet full of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains can help you stay healthy during the colder months, so it's best to eat a balanced diet throughout the year, while trying to ensure the following are in your diet:
  • High in antioxidants, protein, and fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins B (B), C (C), D (D) and E (E).
  • Low sugar and fat.
   3- Drinking water:
The hot weather in the summer reminds us to drink water through thirst, but it is easy to neglect drinking water when the weather becomes cooler because we think that the body does not need more water, and skin problems (such as: eczema) become more common in the winter due to the change In temperature, fluctuating weather, and indoor heating can dry out the skin, so it is important to maintain body moisture by drinking water throughout the day, and this can be facilitated by drinking hot fluids regularly throughout the day.

   4- Stay active.
It is common to feel less motivated during the winter season, and some suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which is a condition associated with winter, especially with the short daylight hours and the cold weather, so you must maintain activity and regular contact with others, and do some exercises, whether it is climbing the stairs instead of the elevator or taking a walk, Physical activity also helps maintain or lose weight, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep quality.

   5- Stay warm.
Cold weather is especially dangerous for the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. People with heart disease or respiratory problems may experience worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal. So, you should:
  • Leave the curtains closed and the doors closed to prevent drafts.
  • Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible.
  • Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during the winter.
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes.
  • Maintain activity as much as possible.
   6- Get rid of mold and moisture:
Rain and darkness in winter can contribute to the growth of mold in the home. It is a fungus that grows in damp, dark places and is active in cold weather. It can be found:
  • Wardrobe spaces if there is not enough ventilation.
  • Wet areas (eg: bathrooms and laundries).
  • Any part in the house which is not dry.
Health conditions caused by mold also include:
  • Runny nose.
  • Eye irritation.
  • Cough and congestion.
  • Asthma attacks / respiratory infections.
  • nausea.
  • headache.
  • The most practical way to control mold is good ventilation, adequate heating, and keeping the home and wet surfaces clean and dry.​
   7- Reducing exposure to wood smoke:
Wood smoke can come from fireplaces, chimneys, outdoor firewood, etc. The smoke consists of fine particles that can negatively affect health by causing:
    • Eye, nose and throat irritation.
    • Coughing and triggering asthma.
Low levels of wood smoke affect people with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. Inhaling high levels of smoke can also affect healthy people. It also increases the risk of poisoning with carbon monoxide (the silent killer), which is an odorless, but it can lead to death, which results from burning wood and coal, especially in enclosed spaces, and the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and chest pain, so be sure to take steps to deal with wood smoke:
  • Keep grills and camp stoves.
  • outside the house.
  • Avoid using treated/stained/painted wood.
  • Chopping wood into smaller pieces
  • Store wood in a well-ventilated area
  • Check the chimney regularly and make sure it is free of wood debris that could block the ventilation lines.
   8- Controlling asthma attacks:
Since colds and influenza are more common in the winter season, climate change can lead to asthma attacks in children, and inhaling cold air, wood smoke, and mold associated with the winter climate can lead to asthma symptoms, so if a person has asthma and suffers from symptoms, he should follow these tips in the asthma management plan:
    • Always carry the inhaler and continue to take your usual preventative inhaler as prescribed.
    • If you need to use your inhaler more often than usual, talk to your doctor about reviewing your treatment plan.
When outside home:
  • Wrap a loose scarf over your nose and mouth, as this will help warm the air before you breathe it in.
  • trying to breathe through the nose instead of the mouth, because the nose heats the air when breathing.
    9- Planning before you travel:
When planning to travel, you must be aware of the current and expected weather conditions, and the elderly or those with chronic health conditions need care and attention when traveling, so potential health complications can be minimized by visiting a doctor and conducting a general examination to discuss any health problems that may affect travel plans. The doctor can prescribe medications the patient may need and address any health concerns to prepare him for the trip.

Last Update : 15 May 2023 04:47 AM
Reading times :