With winter well on the way, it’s time to start asking the questions that will get you through this difficult period safely. Winter comes with lots of additional health risks and you need to think about how you’re going to handle them as the season gets a grip.
Some of the biggest risks during the colder months are physical: trips and falls are more likely on icy ground or rain slicked autumn leaves and of course the winter is the peak time for colds and flu, even without an additional respiratory virus circulating!
- Trips and falls
Around your own home, take care to sweep up fallen leaves while they’re fresh. If they get wet and start to decompose they become much more slippery, and therefore both more of a hazard underfoot and less pleasant for you to deal with! It’s to your advantage to keep your rake or leaf blower at hand, and regularly sweep your property for errant leaves
- Viruses and infections
Winter is the time when flu and cold viruses thrive, and this year we have the additional worry of coronavirus to deal with.
There are some steps you can take if you’re worried about getting or spreading the flu. Most importantly, and especially if you’re particularly vulnerable to the flu due to age or pre-existing medical conditions, you can claim a free flu vaccine from the NHS. Even if you’re not in a vulnerable category you can get a shot from many highstreet chemists, protecting you from the major flu strains this year.
It’s also worth looking for flu protection masks. The fabric face coverings many of us are wearing in shops and other enclosed spaces at the moment can help you to stop spreading virus bearing droplets from your mouth and nose, but a full flu mask from a specialist manufacturer like Covaflu can actually filter the air you’re breathing in, reducing the chance of you catching an infection from the people around you!
Mental Health Risks in the Winter
Winter can also bring with it increased risks to your mental health! The short days and long, cold nights can have a depressive effect, with some people suffering from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of clinical depression.
You can help yourself by preparing for winter in different ways. Some evidence shows that merely focusing on the different opportunities the season brings, rather than on the things you can’t do, can help to lift your mood.
It could also help to address the physiological reason for some seasonal depression: the simple lack of daylight. A SAD lamp replicates the waveforms of sunlight, and can restore your spirits, so it can be a very useful weapon in your winter arsenal!