Keeping your loved ones’ winter health in check is incredibly important

Contagious diseases can go around at any time of year, but it is no secret that colds and flu are most common in the winter. Doctor’s surgeries tend to be busiest once the weather starts to get cooler. Not all winter health problems can be fixed by spending a few days relaxing on the sofa and eating chicken soup.

Colds and flu are not the only health problems that are more common in the winter than they are in the warmer months. Doctors and hospitals also see more cases of pneumonia, heart attacks, strokes, and depression more in the winter than they do in the summer.

Winter Health Risks

Some people are a higher risk than others of developing winter health problems. Young children and people over the age of 65 are at higher risk than other age groups of becoming seriously ill if they are infected with influenza.

As a way to keep safe, having the flu vaccine can help. The earlier you have it the more likely you avoid it before flu season is in full swing. Most doctors offer the flu vaccine, as can several high street pharmacists.

Older adults are the most vulnerable to pneumonia, heart attack, stroke, and depression at any time of year, but especially in the winter. The risk increases if they have chronic cardiovascular disease or kidney or lung problems.

Staying Warm Makes All the Difference

In addition to, and often overlapping with the elderly and people with chronic health conditions, the other group with the highest risk of winter health problems is people who do not have heating in their homes. Elderly people who live on a fixed income are especially vulnerable to not being able to pay for heating.

If you do not have heating in your home, you should take action before the weather gets cold and your health suffers. If you have relatives or friends who have heating in their homes, arrange to stay with them on the coldest days of the year. Loneliness also increases one’s vulnerability to many health problems, so having plans to visit your family and friends will help.

If you do not have any heated place to go, ask your doctor about options for getting heating this winter. You can also warm your bed with an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Eat soup and drink hot tea when possible.

If you have elderly neighbors who have limited mobility, ask them about their plans to stay warm. If they are willing, take them grocery shopping before a particularly cold front. Offer to lend them your electric blanket if they do not have one, or invite them over for tea in your warm kitchen.