10 easy tips for enjoying a healthy winter The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has some easy tips to keeping yourself healthy this winter which will help ensure you spend your time doing the things you want to do and not staying at home, feeling unwell.
While the most common illnesses during winter are colds and flu, these great general tips on how to keep you and your family healthy, will help prevent illness such as allergies, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.
Here are 10 top easy tips for enjoying a healthy winter:
1. Wash your hands regularly and correctly. Winter illness is easily spread via hands. It is important that hands are washed regularly, especially after using the toilet and before touching food.
Don't forget to wash both sides of the hands and between the fingers for at least 20 seconds, use soap and dry with a paper towel or clean dry towel when finished.
2. Open windows during the day and then close them before the sun goes down or you turn on the heating. This will ensure your home is kept ventilated, which helps keep it warm and dry.
3. Keep the bathroom door closed when showering or bathing to prevent excess moisture settling around the house. Excess moisture can lead to respiratory problems and cause mould and mildew.
4. Reduce damp in your home and don't 'line dry' your laundry inside. This increases the amount of moisture in the air.
5. Where possible use a dehumidifier. If there is high moisture content in your home using a dehumidifier will reduce this.
6. Avoid using unflued gas heaters inside your home, which release polluting gases into the air. This type of heater increases the level of indoor air pollutants which can cause respiratory problems. (Unflued gas heaters are usually portable gas heaters that don't have a flue or chimney to remove the gasses to outside your home.)
7. Avoid coughing or sneezing near babies and small children. Many babies and small children are too young to be vaccinated against common illnesses and due to their developing immune systems are more susceptible to picking them up.
8. If you smoke, smoke outside, away from confined spaces. Even though it may be cold outside, it is important to help protect the people around you from cigarette smoke.
9. If you or your child is feeling unwell visit a doctor early. Treating what can seem like small health issues early, can help prevent them getting worse or becoming bigger issues in the future.
10. Talk to your doctor about the influenza vaccination. Vaccination is particularly beneficial for those over 65 years of age, those with serious medical conditions or have asthma and pregnant women. Immunisation is offered between March and July and might be free for you! Visit www.fightflu.co.nz or contact you doctor to find out more.
Be aware of your neighbours, if you know of elderly or vulnerable people in your community, make sure they are ok, something as small as ensuring they have warm food and an extra blanket can help protect them during periods of cold weather.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brad Novak says "Warm, dry and ventilated homes help protect you against common respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis."
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