Blog post by School matron Mrs Johnstone
The winter months can be tough when it comes to health and well-being. The lack of sunlight gets us down and the wet cold weather makes coming down with something all the more likely. We can end up ghostly pale, surrounded by a mountain of tissues, feeling sorry for ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be like that. You CAN survive winter with your health intact if you’re lucky and prepared. There are many tricks and tips for staying healthy in winter. As adults we will be well aware of these but it is often good to remind our children to take these simple steps to stay healthy:-
1. Stay Hydrated
Winter weather tends to stop people from consuming the recommended daily amount of water. The wind, rain and cold batters our skin and leaves it dry and flaky. To combat all of this we need to make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day,
2. Keep That Heart Healthy
Keeping your heart strong year round is always important. Being sedentary doesn’t do anyone any good. Get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible. Exercise will build your immunity
- Get a good night’s sleep – go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- De stress with exercise or meditation – stress has been shown to make you feel tired
When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food. However, it’s important to ensure you still have a healthy diet and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.
If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead.
Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.
Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre.
Milk and dairy products such as cheese, and yoghurt are great sources of:
- vitamins A and B12
- calcium, which helps keep our bones strong
Choose semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk – rather than full-fat and plain yoghurts.
4. Wash your hands often and well.
The proper way to wash: lather your hands with soap, then scrub them in warm or cold running water for at least 20 seconds, or the length of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Frequent hand washing tends to dry out skin, so it’s a good idea to moisturize after you wash.
5. Surface issues
Colds and flu are spread by viruses which can easily spread from surface-to-person and person-to-person. For this reason it’s a good idea to carry an alcohol-based cleanser with you to sterilise any surfaces you believe to be putting your health at risk.
- Antiseptic wipes should also be used to cleanse desktops and phones regularly.
- Always dispose of used tissues as they are the ultimate germ carriers.
6. Flu Vaccine
Flu (influenza) is a highly infectious and very common viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. It can make even healthy people feel very unwell for a week or more.
The most effective way to protect against flu is to have the flu jab (vaccination) as early as possible. If you had the flu vaccination last year, you will not necessarily be protected this year. For maximum protection, it is important to get a booster vaccination each year.
The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to:
- People aged 65 and over
- People under 65 with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and other heart, lung and liver diseases
- Pregnant women
- Young carers and unpaid carers of any age
- Healthcare workers
At Hutchesons’ we offer flu vaccinations to all our primary children.
7. How to treat flu yourself
To help you get better:-
- rest and sleep
- keep warm
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your urine should be light yellow or clear)