It’s that time of year when we need to think about how to prepare for winter.
Winter time brings its charms of lazy weekends snuggled up around a warm fire or heater enjoying a nice hot drink. The part of winter that is less charming are the bugs that come out to play. So, it’s important we take the time to prepare for those nasty winter colds. Prevention is better than cure.
There are some handy hints I’ve picked up over the years to help me stay healthier throughout the winter season. For me it’s always important to have a plan, especially as I require others to support me.If you’re like me and are very susceptible to coughs and colds, it might help asking your support workers/caregivers not to come to work when they’re unwell. They would need to let you know in enough time, so that you can make alternative arrangements. However, while this is great in theory, in practice it can be harder to execute.
I have found the following tips helpful in preventing the spread of germs:
- Clean hands – after you cough or blow your nose, always use hand sanitiser or wash your hands thoroughly
- Wearing disposable gloves
- Wearing disposable masks – these can be bought from pharmacies or the Warehouse and are a great way to ensure that bugs aren’t spread.
These are all items you could stock up on now, to ensure that they are available when needed. Click here for further information
To help you stay healthy over winter, it might also be worth exploring the flu vaccine which is free for many people. Consult your medical professional to see if the flu vaccine is right for you. It is important to note that vaccines change every year, to cover the various strains of flu that are circulating. So it’s recommended you have these vaccinations annually. While vaccinations won’t guarantee you will not get sick, they will help lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do get the flu. For more information visit www.fightflu.co.nz.
Boosting your natural immunity is also important. This can be done by taking any number of supplements such as: vitamin C, zinc, ginger, horseradish, echinacea and Manuka honey. For further information on supplements please consult your local pharmacist or health store.
This is also the time to think about your home, and whether any changes need to be made to keep you warm and dry. Mould and damp can have a big impact on your health. Energywise recommend three steps to maintain a healthy home, including keeping your home warm, ensuring your home is dry and airing it out regularly. For more information on how to make your home a healthy home, visit www.energywise.govt.nz
Also, think of cost-effective ways of staying warm. It can be particularly difficult for people to maintain warmth when mobility is lacking, so consider using some safe and cost-effective options. Wearing two pairs of socks can help keep your feet warm. However, I find this is too uncomfortable, due to my already weakened mobility. Therefore, I favour the electronic options that are now on the market. I have just found out about electrically heated shoes, which keep your feet toastie and warm. Also, my favourite is a safer option than the good old hottie (hot water bottle). You can replace it with an electric hot water bottle so that, unlike traditional hot water bottles, you don’t need to worry about being burnt by hot water. The down side to this is that it only stays warm for half an hour. For more information click here.
Stay safe and stay warm this winter.
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About the author: Natalie Brunzel works as a freelance Communication Consultant. She has worked within the disability sector for over 10 years. Her extensive knowledge of the disability sector and lived experience of an impairment provides a refreshing look at topical issues.