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Health Tips to Prepare for Winter

As winter approaches, medical centres see many more illnesses and viruses spreading due to the cold weather. It is extremely important to be prepared for winter and also understand how to avoid contracting anything during winter. Please read our tips below on how to avoid getting sick this winter.

Take Steps to Prevent the Flu. The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated each year in autumn. Recent studies show that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of the flu illness by between 40% - 60% during the seasons where the flu viruses are well-matches to the vaccine. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze , wash your hands often and stay home if you get sick. Understand Antibiotics. Antibiotics can cure bacterial infections, but not viral infections. The common cold and the flu are viral infections, so avoid using antibiotics if you have one of these. Using antibiotics when they are aren’t necessary causes some bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, and therefore harder to kill. See your GP to find out if your illness is bacterial or viral. Keep Your Kids Healthy and Hygienic. Children are among the highest risk, along with the elderly to contract an illness that can escalate to something more serious quickly. Get involved with your kids’ hygiene routine to help ensure they are safe and healthy from any germs and bacteria that may cause illness. Ensuring they are washing their hands regularly, avoiding close contact with anyone who may be unwell, sharing food with someone who may be unwell and having a good balanced diet will improve their overall health. Have a Healthy Diet. Eating food with high nutritional value will give your body the vitamins, fats and good carbohydrates that is needed to help your body to recover quicker. While it is tempting to eat more food in winter, it is beneficial to eat a well balanced diet throughout the year.

Include foods in your diet that are: - High in antioxidants, protein and fibre - High in vitamins B,C,D and E - Low in fats and sugars.

Asthma Sufferers be Cautious. As colds and flu are more common in winter, the change of climate can trigger asthma attacks in children and adults. Breathing in cold air, wood smoke, and mold associated with winter climates, can also induce asthma symptoms. If you have asthma and are experiencing symptoms, follow the advice of your asthma action plan. People experiencing asthma for the first time, should see their GP for a diagnosis.

Keep Warm and Be Aware of Others. Winter can be a tough time for many people in our community. Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people and people with pre-existing or chronic health conditions. People with heart conditions or respiratory breathing problems including children wheezing, may have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal. Tips to keep warm: - Keep curtains drawn when temperatures reach very low and keep outside doors closed. - Have regular hot drinks and aim to have one hot meal a day. - Wear a few layers of clothing during winter instead of a 'chunky' layer. - Keep as active as possible

If you would like to receive any further advice on how to prepare your health for this winter please book in with one of our doctors at Queensgate Medical Centre by calling 9456 1811 or booking via our website:

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