Adopt plenty of healthy habits and see off those win­ter blues

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - PREPARING FOR WINTER -

BEAT­ING the win­ter blues is easy if you re­ally put your mind to it as it’s im­por­tant to tackle the sea­son head-on by in­cor­po­rat­ing pos­i­tive ideas to help pro­tect against the cold. Peo­ple who are older and suf­fer from cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions are more at risk from con­tract­ing flu which is why a visit to your GP for a chat about the an­nual Flu Vac­ci­na­tion might be worth your while. A de­tailed HSE pam­phlet is now in cir­cu­la­tion an­swer­ing all your ques­tions and Oc­to­ber is the month to have the vac­ci­na­tion.

Win­ter is a sea­son that pays no heed to age and no mat­ter how old you are, ex­plor­ing pre­cau­tions that help pro­tect our im­mune sys­tems is never a wasted ven­ture. A well-bol­stered im­mune sys­tem won’t al­ways pro­tect against flu but it can help to re­duce the ef­fects of de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms.

As the evenings shorten, it’s vi­tal that you make al­ter­ations that help re­sis­tance. Eat­ing healthily and keep­ing ac­tive are im­por­tant ways to keep you tick­ing over soundly dur­ing win­ter. Im­mu­nity thrives in a body that keeps ac­tive and ever more so if plenty of vi­ta­mins are in­cluded in your diet. Plenty of vi­ta­min A, C, D and E will quickly get to work and many older gen­er­a­tions swear by the rep­u­ta­tion of Cod Liver Oil. Food also plays its part in help­ing to stave off those an­noy­ing colds and where pos­si­ble you should try to source the afore­men­tioned vi­ta­mins through food con­sump­tion rather than sup­ple­ments. It’s not al­ways pos­si­ble, but it’s deemed more nat­u­ral.

Drink­ing plenty of wa­ter is im­por­tant too as it helps in the pro­duc­tion of lymph which car­ries white blood cells to help boost im­mune sys­tems. Con­versely, how­ever, is the re­duc­tion in al­co­hol as the lat­ter causes the op­po­site ef­fect in blood cells and of­ten peo­ple dis­cover they get cold or flu symp­toms af­ter a bout of al­co­hol, which is partly down to a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem. This might sound like a bit of a no-brainer, but clothes and dress­ing ap­pro­pri­ately are also im­por­tant de­fence mech­a­nisms against cold and flu. ‘Lay­ers’ is the key here, and lots of them.

An­other old chest­nut is to wear a hat and scarf. It might be an old wives tale, but many con­sider pro­tec­tion of the head and throat area es­sen­tial at win­ter time. Lastly, what­ever meth­ods are most suited to you, make them a reg­u­lar habit through­out win­ter and not just dur­ing the first cold spell that hits. Win­ter is hard enough, so try make it a lit­tle eas­ier on your­self by avoid­ing those win­ter blues.

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