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A GP’s advice on staying healthy this winter

Woman in winter

With the arrival of winter and the colder months, many of us begin to deteriorate in health, developing colds, flu, and myriad other issues. It’s a problem for all of us, especially those with immune systems that aren’t what they used to be.

While we can’t guarantee our good health when the big chill arrives, there are numerous steps one can take to give ourselves the best chance possible of staying well in the months ahead. Some of these steps have been set out by British GP Dr Sara Kayat in a recent article for Netdoctor.

Dr Kayat has some great recommendations and considering she’s a doctor, it’s probably a good idea to hear her out!

Tips for staying healthy

First of all, Dr Kayat stresses the importance of receiving Vitamin D: “Vitamin D is important to keep our bones and muscles healthy and is primarily made by a reaction in our skin to sunlight.” However, because the UK sunlight doesn’t contain enough “UVB radiation to make vitamin D” we Brits must get the amount needed from food and supplements.

Dr Kayat recommends oily fish, red meat and eggs and for an even better dose of vitamin D, to consider taking supplements during winter.

Dr Kayat’s next tip pertains to improving our mood: “It is estimated that two million people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as 'winter depression'. The symptoms which include low mood, irritability and fatigue tend to reach their peak between December and February.” To combat this, Dr Kayat says to take walks for one hour a day, especially when the sun is out and to sit near windows where possible.

The good doctor’s third tip involves cleanliness, namely washing your hands regularly. “If you are sick of catching every virus incubating in your commuter train carriage, the best way to avoid getting ill is to wash your hands regularly, as 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch.”

And Dr Kayat doesn’t mean just dipping your hands under the tap, but washing for 45 seconds with soap, interlocking your fingers, and rubbing all parts of your hands.

These are just some of the suggestions from Dr Kayat, more of which you can read in her article. But by following her advice, and taking the time to care for our bodies during a restorative spa day in Yorkshire, we can give ourselves the best shot possible of staying healthy this winter.