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Staying well this winter: Top tips from the pharmacist

Throughout winter, we need to remember to look after our physical and mental health. Isle of Man community pharmacist Mukunda Measuria provides his 12 top tips for a healthier winter.

  Take a Vitamin D supplement

Vitamin D is needed for healthy bones and muscles. During Spring and Summer most of us make enough Vitamin D from sunlight on the skin but in the Isle of Man between October and early March, we can’t make vitamin D from sunlight because the sun is too low in the sky. Because it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food, it’s best to take a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter. There are a range of products and doses available at supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers; the recommended dose of vitamin D is 10 micrograms (400 International Units (IU)) per day. Taking more than this dose is not necessary, but if you are unable to find a vitamin D supplement providing 10 micrograms (400 IU), products providing up to 25 micrograms (1000 IU) are suitable for everyone.

  Keep a winter care package in the house

This is particularly useful so you have it to hand for when you feel unwell and could include paracetamol, cold and flu remedies, sore throat treatments and a thermometer.

  Consider keeping a home minor ailment kit

This could include the following items:

  • Ear drops for ear pain or wax
  • Eye drops and washes
  • First Aid kit
  • Indigestion remedies
  • Moisturisers/Lip balm – cold, damp weather can damage the skin, one of your most important defence organs
  • Mouth ulcer treatments

  Order your prescriptions in good time

7 to 10 days before it’s due, so the pharmacy has enough time to prepare it and you can collect it all at once.

  Take your medication regularly, and as directed

If you have any questions about your medication, contact your local pharmacy, who will happily discuss them and answer any queries you may have.

  Keep warm

Maintain a steady temperature of 18-21°C, and use a timer to ensure the house is warmed up for when you get home, without wasting energy when you’re not there.

  Drink water and maintain hydration

2 litres of water a day is the target.


Keep active, even if that means doing some exercises at home on days when it’s cold, wet or icy outside. Lots of home exercise videos can be found online.

 Practise good hand hygiene

Regular handwashing and using hand sanitiser when out and about can massively reduce the chances of catching viral infections, and helps reduce the spread of winter illnesses.

 Eat well

Try and get your 5 fruits and veg in per day, as these are a great source of natural vitamins and minerals.

 Quit smoking

Smoking is a massive risk factor to poor health, especially in the winter. Smokers are more vulnerable to chest infections, and it’s much harder and takes longer for them to recover. Quit4You is a local scheme available to everyone, to help you quit. Call 642404 or email

 Don’t forget about your local pharmacy

Isle of Man pharmacies offer a minor ailments service and are able to treat a wide range of conditions through the pharmacy. Contact them first, before your GP, as this will save both you and your GP’s valuable time.

Winter can be tough for a lot of people but with the right support and advice, Isle of Man residents can enjoy a healthier and happier winter season.