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February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


Wellbeing: 5 ways to stay healthy this winter

Reduce some of the risks posed in the cold weather, writes Martin Burrows

The cold weather that comes with this time of year can have a negative impact on your health. There are things you can do to limit the impact. While some of these ideas may seem obvious, taking the following steps should reduce some  of the risks posed in the cold weather.

1. Keep dry and warm

 If you have no option but to sleep on the streets try to find somewhere sheltered.
• Protect yourself against the cold by having a sleeping bag and/or blankets.
• Avoid damp places to bed down and sleeping directly on the ground, for example, by putting cardboard or blankets down first.
• Go to bed when you’re warm. If it’s cold outside and you are cold going to bed, you’re not going to be able to warm yourself up.

2. Eat well

 Try to eat regular and balanced meals.
• If you are sleeping out try to get hot food right before you go to sleep.
• The meal can help you warm up and keep you warm enough to get to sleep while your body still has heat.
• Keep in mind that fattier foods like cheese or creamed soup are going to be better for keeping you warm.

3. Socks and underwear

 Change your socks and underwear each day if you can.
• Wear multiple pairs of socks on cold nights.
• If you can, find boots that cover your whole foot, ankle, and part of your leg.
• If your feet do get wet try to change your socks.
• A plastic bag over shoes can help to keep the rain off.

 4. See a GP

 If you are feeling unwell, are worried about your health or just feel you need a checkup, then see a doctor (GP).
• You do not need a fixed address or identification to register with a GP practice.
• Your immigration status should also not stop you from registering and getting treatment from a GP.

5. Get vaccinated

One of the most effective ways to stay healthy over the winter is to get a flu and pneumonia jab.
• If you are homeless you can get a flu jab for free from a GP practice or a pharmacy.
• Having a flu jab is particularly important if you have a respiratory health issue like asthma or COPD, or if you have another chronic health issue.