Some health problems, such as asthma, sore throat and cold sores, are triggered or worsened by cold weather. Here's how to help your body deal with cold weather ailments.
Colds:- You can help prevent cold by washing your hands regularly. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles.It's also important to keep the house and any household items such as cups, glasses and towels clean, especially if someone in your house is ill.
Top tip: If you get a cold, use disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs to avoid constantly reinfecting your own hands.
Sore throat:- These are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections. There's some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the cold outdoors, can also affect the throat.
Top tip: One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. It won't heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water.
Asthma:-Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter.
Top tip: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep rescue inhalers close by and in a warm place.
Painful joints:- Many people with athritis say their joints become more painful in winter, though it's not clear why this is the case. Only joint symptoms such as pain and stiffness are affected by the weather. There's no evidence that changes in the weather cause joint damage.
Top tip: Many people get a little depressed during the winter months, and this can make them perceive pain more acutely. Everything feels worse, including medical conditions. Daily exercise can boost a person's mental and physical state. Swimming is ideal as it's easy on the joints.
Cold sores:- Most of us recognize that cold sores are a sign that we're run down or under stress. While there's no cure for cold sores, you can reduce the chances of getting one by looking after yourself through winter.
Top tip: Every day, do things that make you feel less stressed, such as having a hot bath, going for a walk in the park, or watching one of your favourite films.
Heart attacks:- Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it's cold.
Top tip: Stay warm in your home. Keep the main rooms you use at 21C (70F) and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.
Dry skin:- Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter, when environmental humidity is low.Moisturizing is essential during winter. Contrary to popular belief, moisturizing lotions and creams aren't absorbed by the skin. Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin's natural moisture evaporating away.The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime.
Top tip: Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy. Hot water will also make your hair look dull and dry.