The mention of winter season conjures up images of warm blankets, steaming mugs of coffee, crackling fires and pristine white snow falling softly. However, this postcard perfect image of winter season is far from complete. For those who suffer from frequent bouts of flu, cold, eczema, arthritis or asthma, winter season can bring endless days of misery and ill-health.
The cold season can be particularly hard for the elderly and the children as their outdoor movement can be seriously curtailed. Staying up indoors while temperatures fall below freezing levels or gusts of cold winds blow continuously, can be very depressing and may bring upon winter blues or depression.
When the temperatures drop outside, it does not have to mean that the season has to become the unhealthiest time of the year for you and your family.
Keep colds at bay:
As the weather changes, it brings along its share of health problems like blocked or runny noses, sneezing, sore throats, cough, fever, cold and flu. Many of these problems arise because of the sudden change in temperature and also because we are not dressed appropriately for the chill in the air.
Staying cooped up indoors and keeping all doors and windows closed can cause the germs to pass easily among various family members. If someone has a cold and sneezes or coughs into the hands, then every surface that is touched gets infected. The best way to keep germs away is to avoid direct contact with those who have colds and to wash hands frequently.
Using tissues or handkerchiefs and keeping towels separate also helps to curtail the spread of infection. The room windows should be opened even if only for a little while each day, to let in fresh air. Airing towels, bed linen and pillows can also help as sunshine kills the germs.
Dress appropriately and wear jackets, ear muffs, scarves, gloves, woolen hats and thick socks and water-proof boots if the weather is very cold outside. If clothes or shoes get wet, they must be changed at once and dried properly.
Avoid drastic changes in temperature:
If the interior of the house or your office is very warm and cozy, it is better to switch off heaters to bring the temperature down before venturing outside. Mouth and nose should be covered with a scarf so that one does not inhale too much cold air.
Keep indoor air moist:
Sometime excessive use of indoor heaters can dry out the air which can cause incessant coughing or make the skin parched and tight. This problem can be resolved with a room humidifier. Alternatively, a pot of water can be kept near the gas or electric heater. The heat will cause the water to evaporate and keep the room air moist.
Boost the Immune System:
Eat foods rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to give your body a strong immune system. A well balanced diet is essential for fighting colds and flu. In winters, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, spinach, carrots, turnips, radishes, cabbages and dried fruits like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dried prunes etc which are packed with minerals and vitamins necessary for good health. One can make colorful, nutritious salads or prepare fresh juices according to the taste.
Try to keep away from too many junk and fried foods. They can make you feel sluggish. Fresh fruits, vegetables and liquids will keep you energized and hydrated. It is especially important to drink plenty of fluids in winter so that urinary tract infections and constipation can be kept at bay. Eat plenty of fish or take cod liver oil which is packed with vitamin A and D and helps to fight allergies and host of other health problems.
Take plenty of hot drinks:
Drinking green tea frequently or sipping hot tea with honey and ginger also provides excellent protection against the cold. Honey, ginger and turmeric can be used as home remedies for most infections related to upper respiratory tract which are common in winter season.
You can also prepare hot soups, stews and warm casseroles to keep your body healthy. If it is difficult to make complicated soups every day, just make a pot of chicken stock. Add vegetables like carrots, cabbage, peas etc. and add herbs like parsley and ginger to make very simple and yet very nutritious soups.
Get some exercise:
Unless it is absolutely freezing outside and there is a real danger of getting frostbite, some form of outdoor activity is essential for the whole family. With proper warm clothing, it will prove to be a lot of fun and drive away the winter blues.
Watch your mood:
Lack of sunshine and daylight can have a very negative effect on a person’s mood making him irritable, depressed and listless. More women seem to be effected by this seasonal affective disorder than men. The winter blues can be countered with strong artificial lights and warm and bright tones in the house and exercising whether indoors or outdoors at least three times a week.
Another important thing to remember is that your body needs plenty of rest and adequate sleep especially during winters. Getting enough sleep allows the body to repair itself and be at its strongest, making it easier to resist germs and remain healthy.
Follow these tips to remain healthy and enjoy the winter season!
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