Winter is a challenging time of year for your health, so how can you protect yourself? The trick lies in being prepared and thinking ahead.
- Get your flu jab
If you are pregnant, have an immunity condition, are aged over 65 or fall within a number of other categories, you will get your flu jab for free. If not, head to your local clinic and shell out the £12 needed to protect yourself from the current year’s strain of a horrible illness that will otherwise lay you low for a week or more. Don’t leave it to chance!
2. Wash your hands
Colds and viruses spread by microdroplets, which can easily be transmitted through skin to skin content. Protect yourself by washing your hands regularly. When you sneeze, use a tissue and immediately dispose of it. You can also use an antibacterial handwash, but don’t overdo it. The ingredients in these can be fairly drying on your hands.
3. Eat well
A nutritious diet packed with fresh fruit and vegetables will provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to protect your health and wellbeing.
- Drink water
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to encourage your body’s natural defences to work as they should. Drink hot drinks to ease a sore throat and choose herbal teas for benefits such as digestive easing or immunity support. Avoid drinking sugary drinks or alcohol, which weaken the immune system. A glass of red can be a relaxant and provide valuable polyphenols, but a regular habit of several drinks after work is unwise.
5. Have an STI check
Whether you want STI testing London wide or across the UK, there are NHS and private clinics available for a rapid and confidential screening. You can also do these tests in the privacy of your own home – find out more from organisations such as https://www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/home_sti_kits/. If you are planning to have sex with a new partner over the Christmas period, or it might be on the cards, carry a condom.
Mental health can be an issue over Christmas. Take time to meditate, to walk, to be by nature, to do yoga, or to volunteer. The activities that calm you will help you to stay balanced, happy and well and to enjoy the best of the festive season.