Your Health This Winter
- Family Health

The Head to Toe Guide To Looking After Your Health This Winter

When the cold weather sets in, it brings with it a whole host of ailments. From the common cold to the nasty norovirus, we are all hit by these winter-related illness at one time or another. Additionally, if you already suffer from a condition such as asthma or arthritis, the symptoms can get worse during the wretched weather. It is, therefore, important that you take certain measures to take care of your health in winter. This head to toe guide will help you minimise your risk of getting winter ailments and help you to deal with the symptoms if you are suffering.

Your Health This Winter


The cold is the most common winter illness. It is often referred to as a “head cold” because the symptoms are concentrated in the head and facial region. Symptoms include a headache, blocked nose and sinuses, sore ears, etc. Unfortunately, it is highly contagious, and there is no 100% effective cure for it. However, there are ways to reduce your risks of catching it, relieve the symptoms allowing you to recover from the cold quickly.

To reduce your chances of catching a cold, you should wash your hands regularly. The bugs responsible for colds exist in air droplets and on surfaces such as door handles. They can also be passed on when you shake hands with someone who is infected. Be aware when you come in contact with surfaces used by other people and wash your hands after doing so. Make sure you help your immune system to cope with the plummeting temperatures by taking lots of vitamin C.

You can use over-the-counter remedies to help relieve your cold. Nasal sprays, drinks, and capsules that contain natural ingredients such as peppermint and eucalyptus will help to soothe your symptoms. Painkillers will help for headaches and other painful symptoms.



A sore throat in winter is usually one of the symptoms of a cold. In the winter, we often move from the toasty warm indoors to the bitterly cold outdoors and there is evidence that this drastic change in temperature can result in a sore throat.

As sore throats are usually caused by bacterial or viral infections, they are not that easy to prevent. However, washing your hands regularly and cleaning surfaces will minimise your risk of catching a sore throat.

When you feel a sore throat coming on, try gargling with salty warm water in order to reduce the swelling and irritation. Honey is also an excellent natural remedy as it coats the throat making it less sore and dry. Try a teaspoon full of honey and the same amount of lemon mixed with warm water for a soothing drink that will also give you a good dose of vitamin C.



Asthma sufferers can experience aggravated symptoms in the winter. They may suffer from increased wheezing and shortness of breath due to the cold air. People with asthma should take certain measures in preparation for winter in order to control their symptoms.

If you usually suffer more in the cold, take a couple of puffs on your inhaler before going out in the cold. Make sure you are dressed appropriately. Wear warm clothes and wrap a scarf around your face and nose in order to heat up the air you inhale. It is important that you keep your blue inhaler with you at all times. Elderly patients are advised to stay indoors as far as possible when the weather is extremely cold.


Tummy bugs are also a common health complication associated with winter. You have probably heard of, or may have suffered from, a common virus called norovirus. Norovirus causes sickness and diarrhoea, and it is highly infectious. It can be passed on by touching the same food, surface and objects as an infected person.

To reduce your risk of contracting a winter sickness bug, you should adopt good hygiene practices. Wash your hands regularly and clean surfaces to ensure they are germ-free.

Unfortunately, there is no way to eradicate the virus through medication. If you are suffering from a vomiting bug you should drink plenty of fluids to replace the water, salt and sugars that you have lost. Take painkillers to reduce your temperature and for any aches and pains. It is important to remember that you may still be contagious for a couple of days after the symptoms have disappeared. During this time, you should not prepare food for others or go back to work for 48 hours to prevent spreading the bug further.


Many people suffer from stiff and sore joints during the cold weather. Additionally, arthritis patients may experience aggravated symptoms as the temperature outside decreases.

Keeping your legs warm may help when coping with knee pain in winter. It is also recommended that you take part in regular physical activity will help you to stay warm and increase blood circulation throughout your body. Walking and swimming are good exercises to try for relieving pain in your joints.


You’d think it would stop there, but no, unfortunately, the cold weather also attacks our skin. In the winter our skin becomes dry, tight and irritated.

As a preventative and remedial measure you should apply a heavy-duty moisturiser all over your skin. Look for products that are oil based. The oil keeps the moisture locked in for longer and creates a protective barrier on your skin. Apply moisturiser straight after a shower or bath. It is best to apply it when your skin is still damp to allow maximum moisture to be absorbed.

When the temperatures plummet, our immune systems take a little time to adjust to the cold conditions. During this preparation period, we are often vulnerable to catching bugs. Additionally, the cold aggravates symptoms associated with certain long-term conditions. Before and during the winter it is important that you look after your health by practising good hygiene, eating well and exercising. However, sometimes winter-related illnesses are difficult to avoid and so it is important also to be aware of the best ways to relieve the symptoms.