Top 5 tips for staying healthy through the winter

  1. Take Vitamin D – reduces colds and upper respiratory tract infections.
    Evidence is building for this mighty vitamin including this study in the British Medical Journal. More research is being completed worldwide in asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis and in healthy populations, and it even seems to reduce hospitalisations in chronic conditions. So get with the evidence and start taking vitamin D through winter, to keep the germs at bay.
     
  2. Nose breathe and sinus rinse.
    Nose breathing helps to capture and kill bugs, before they get into your lungs. It also warms and humidifies the air for the lungs, which reduces irritability to cold and dry air. Groovy. Then if you do get a cold, get onto sinus rinses to move that gunk and sputum out your sinuses asap. That way you can recover faster and easier! 
     
  3. Get your house warm and insulated, and buy a heater mate for your children’s room.
    Heating, insulation, and getting rid of condensation are all proven for keeping healthy through winter. Simple measures include draft stoppers, curtains that go floor to ceiling, and opening your home to cross flow ventilation during the warm part of the day to reduce condensation. If you have small children a really neat device is a heatermate. This nifty device overcomes the problem of in-accurate thermostats on oil heaters by having a separate thermostat positioned at the wall switch – this stops the room from overheating or getting too cold. Radical!
     
  4. Stay active but allow for the weather (aka Join the gym, do a spin class, yoga, or Pilates).
    I like exercise. Exercise helps to boost your immune system. Exercise helps your brain function well! But sometimes it is raining and windy and that is not cool if you have lung issues. Doing an indoor class is a good alternative for winter so you can stay active!
     
  5. Get a flu vaccine – especially if you work in a at risk profession or have lung disease.
    Last year I was trying to be superman for a 6-month period through winter – I was working long hours, writing courses, doing a research study, teaching, being a dad, and then it all fell apart on a short trip away.  BOOM! Asthma, chest infection, 2 weeks off work.. Yuck!  So, this year I got the flu vaccine and it was free! Yes, if you are an asthmatic it is free at most GP practices.(please check with your individual GP practice). Nice!!