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Staying well this winter: Top tips from the pharmacist

As we ride out the last few weeks of winter, we need to remember to look after our physical and mental health during these colder and darker days. Isle of Man community pharmacist Mukunda Measuria provides his 12 top tips for a healthier winter.

  Take a Vitamin D supplement

Vitamin D supplementation has drawn a lot of media attention in recent times to combat the lack of sunshine during winter months and for its immune supporting benefits. A regular daily dose of 800-1000 units is recommended for most people and is available at most pharmacies and some supermarkets on the Isle of Man.

  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, multivitamins and a thermometer. Taking immune booster supplements such as Vitamin C, Echinacea and Zinc, or using a prevention nasal spray, could give you the best chance of preventing symptoms from worsening. Always check with your pharmacy team if you have any questions about taking supplements and remedies with your prescribed medication.

  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.

  Exercise

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 quit@gov.im

 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.