4 tips for warmth & health this winter
At a Glance:
Yes, you never realize when the slow, gentle chill turns into biting cold. Wintry winds, confined spaces with heating system on, dull and short days, intermittent rains, dryness in the air a are a few challenges winter comes with. Cold weather can affect your health, both mental and physical. It can also potentially aggravate existing health conditions such as asthma, arthritis, influenza, and psoriasis. Along with these health issues, winter also calls for protection against cold, flu and damage to hair and skin damage. Here are some winter tips to maintain good health:
Winter tips to prevent cold, flu and infections
Flu (influenza) caused by a variety of viruses is common during the season. Here are some tips to protect yourself from colds and flu during winters:
- Protect yourself with a flu shot
- Keep your nose and mouth covered during a cough or sneeze or when in a public place
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid frequently touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- If you already haveflu, try and stay home from work or school, avoid direct contact with other people, take adequate rest and stay hydrated for faster recovery.
Nutritious food suitable for winters:
It is not unusual to get tempted to eat more food during winters, however a well-balanced diet is what is needed not only during winters but also throughout the year. Add sweet potato, hot chocolate, apples, pears and turnips (shalgam) to your winter basket. A bowl of hot tomato soup will not only keep you warmer but will up your metabolism and immunity.
Try to include more of these foods in your winter diet that are:
High in fibres, antioxidants and protein: Both soluble and insoluble fiber should be consumed daily. Soluble fiber is found in foods like, apples and fruits, legumes like chickpeas and lentils. Sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains, nuts, seeds and skins of vegetables.
Food items high in vitamins like B, C, D and E which include eggs, citrus fruits, nuts etc
Winter tips for allergies
Change of climate can exacerbate existing asthma in children and elderly. Sometimes sudden changes in temperature like going out from warm room to cold outside can trigger symptoms. Cold air, smoke or mould are common triggers of an asthma attack.
If you are an asthmatic, keep your inhaler handy all the time:
- Wrap a scarf over your nose and mouth loosely while going out. The air becomes warm before you breathe it in this way.
- Breathing should be done from the nose instead of your mouth, as it warms the air that you breathe in.
Winter tips for hair & skin care
Winter weather may be harsh on the skin. Extreme cold and reduced humidity leads to dryness in skin and hair. Harsh wind, indoor heat from appliances, hot showers or baths etc too cause loss of moisture.
To reduce the effects of winter dryness that cause chapping, itching, redness and dryness try these winter beauty tips:
Winter face care tip:
Hydrating masks made at home using natural ingredients can help in moisture retention for the skin during winters. Some of these ingredients include avocado, honey, olive oil, yogurt, coconut or almond oil, aloe vera and bananas. You could make a paste by mixing the ingredients of your choice, leave on skin for 20-30 minutes and rinse.
Winter hair care tips:
Just like the skin, our hair too get robbed of moisture during winters and are prone to breakage from wearing woolen caps etc. To retain moisture, you can massage your hair gently with a mixture of warm coconut oil and lemon, leave for 15-20 minutes and rinse. Avoid using harsh shampoos and hair products to prevent dryness.
Winter tips for overall health & well-being
Water intake and hydration
The hot weather during summers reminds us to have adequate water by making us thirsty. However, the signals from body aren’t the same during winters. As a result, many a times water intake is neglected during cold weather. Follow these simple tips to stay adequately hydrated:
- Includesucculent fruits and vegetables for more hydration.
- Limit caffeine to 2 drinks a day
- Drink warm fluids like soups, hot chocolatemore often.
- Try flavoredwater & herbal teas with different flavors like turmeric, ginger, jasmine, lemon grass, basil and chamomile. They not only serve as hydrant but also as a great detox.
Keep yourself active
Getting out of bed may be hard during winters. Late sunrise and cloudy weather is not an ever exciting experience. However, mild-to-moderate exercise can be of great help during the winters, especially in building immunity, which is important to keep the viral infections away and warding-off mood troubles. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder associated with winter season and can be offset by staying active and maintaining regular contact with others. Consult your physician before engaging in new exercise if you have any medical issues.
Some winter tips for consistent exercise routine:
- Keep your workout gear next to your bedso you don’t have to do much before warming up.
- Keep a scarf handy during outdoor exercisesto protect from wind and allergens.
- Wear light-coloured clothesto stay visible in the dark, especially during dawn and twilight.
- Be prepared with healthy and warm fluids to replenish after a workout.
Avoid household mold and pests
Darkness and cold climate are an ambient environment for mold, a type of fungus to grow in homes. Wardrobes, damp areas in bathroom, suitcases with clothes and woollen are some places where mold grow & flourish.
Some tips to get rid of mold and winter pests:
- Spray the affected surfaces with white vinegar using a spray bottle, leave for a while and wipe off with warm water.
- Make a chlorine bleach paste with three parts of water and one part of chlorine, wipe the mould surface with a cloth dipped in this bleach.
- In a spray bottle, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and spray adequately over the affected area. Leave for 10-15 minutes, scrub with a scrubber and wash away.
- Get carpets, sofa seats, mattresses etc cleaned before the onset of winters.
Some tips to prevent mold growth:
- Use commercially available moisture absorbers and dehumidifiers for cupboards, racks etc.
- Maintain proper ventilation by making use of exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Keep windows open whenever weather allows for cross ventilation.
- Prevent or repair water leaks and plumbing problems sooner.
- Mayo Clinic. Winter fitness: Safety tips for exercising outdoors. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20045626.Accessed on 21st November 2018.
- National Institutes of Health. Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults/.Accessed on 21st November 2018.
- National Health Services. Five ways to stay healthy this winter. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/five-ways-to-stay-healthy-this-winter/.Accessed on 21st November 2018.