Beat The Cold

Beat the cold


Beware the Cold Sore!

As soon as the temperature drops, up crop the cold sores! They usually forewarn you of their arrival by means of a tingling or piercing sensation on the lip and then out pop the fluid filled sores, which can hang about in an unsightly fashion for 7-10 days. If you are a cold sore sufferer stock up on antiviral cream and slap it on as soon as you feel the first tingle. If you are a serious sufferer speak to us about getting the tablet version of the cream (chemical name aciclovir) and have it on standby to strike at the first sign. Protecting your lips is also vitally important so make sure they are well moisturised and wear a protective balm when out doors. As wind and cold serve as triggers, wrap up well in a bumper sized scarf or snood to cover your luscious lips!


Defy Dry skin!

Winter is well renowned for drying out the skin. Dry skin can not only look unsightly but  may also lead to dermatitis and flare ups of conditions like eczema. Common sense would say if you are heating your home like a hot house, your skin wouldn’t be happy. This can make the skin cracked, dry and irritant. Moisturising is essential in wintertime and best done after a bath or a shower. Take care to apply a shine of moisturiser, not slather it on, as if it’s pilled on too high it will trap heat as well as moisture and make the skin irritant. When having a bath or shower think green. Keep the water warm but not roasting and get in and out as fast a possible. Lounging in a hot bath or blasting your skin with hot shower water every morning  dries it out. If you suffer from a skin condition, anticipate a flare during winter and ensure you have an action plan at the first sign of a relapse. This means renewing your prescription and ensuring your doctor has given you sufficient supply to stamp it out.


Banish blue fingers and toes!


At least to 1 in 20 women suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon where the tiny blood vessels in the fingers and toes are super sensitive to changes in temperature. The fingers or toes usually loose their colour and can feel numb or painful. Avoiding the cold is impossible in the winter but there are things you can do to limit the discomfort. Firstly splash the cash on some sheepskin gloves and mega woolly socks (cotton is a no no in the cold) Layer up in preparation for the day. You have got to keep your whole body warm not just the chilly bits. Make sure you put on all your cold weather gear before you go out doors; even a short stroll to the car can play havoc with your fingers. A clever trick is to put your hat, gloves and scarf on the radiator to warm them up before you head out. Delegate the windscreen de-icing to a third party and avoid the freezer section of the supermarket like the plague. Ask for an early Christmas present of  some mini heat packs so you have an instant radiator at the ready in your handbag. If you are a smoker stop, its no good for the circulation. Caffeine should also be cut out as this too can contribute. Exercising on the other hand gives the blood flow a big boost, so get out doors; just remember to wear your winter gear!


Avoid Asthma flare-ups!

Changes in temperature can cause Asthma to flare ,so anticipate this and make sure you have a stash of both your preventative and symptomatic inhalers to tackle your wheeze. Avoid abrupt changes in temperature and ideally cover your mouth with a scarf when heading outdoors. Exercising in the cold may also trigger symptoms so keep well wrapped up and don’t overdo it. Make sure the house is a dust free zone and tackle any damp, as both will really hit your breathing badly. Asthmatics are much more prone to picking up infections which in turn trigger their asthma. While the cold itself doesn’t cause you to “catch” anything congregating indoors in a warm environment does. The atmosphere becomes a bacterial soup of germs transmitted by coughs and sneezes. So run a mile from a companion with  cold symptoms!


Beware bad habits!

Research tells us that smoking and drinking increase the potential side effects of the cold. Eating poorly  also reduces your cold defences. Don’t calorie cut and always aim to eat hot meals and drink warm drinks daily. While you may be a fashion fanatic beware the stiletto on the slippery footpath. If you come a cropper you could end up with a fractured wrist or hip,  so trade the high heels for shoes with a grip. Grit paths outside your house, cat litter works well if no grit is available. Avoid high-risk behaviour like putting the bins out in your slippers; it only ever ends in tears! Pack a torch in your hand bag so you can see where you are going in unlit areas.


Consider carbon monoxide!

Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, colourless, odourless gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels. Gas appliances and flues that haven’t been properly, installed, maintained or ventilated can be a source of carbon monoxide. Its serious stuff, which kills 11 people each year in the UK. Low grade carbon monoxide poisoning, can cause nausea, poor concentration, headaches, aches and pains and fatigue. Symptoms may be put down to other things but Carbon Monoxide should always be considered if you are not feeling quiet right and you cant  put your finger on what’s wrong. A particular clue may be that the whole family  are experiencing  symptoms. A carbon monoxide monitor is a household essential. Make sure to book your boiler in for its annual MOT, yes it costs in terms of cash  but Carbon Monoxide poisoning could cost you your life.


Make sure there’s no crisis due to energy prices!

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 35 degrees.If you are frail, elderly, exhausted, malnourished or under the influence of drugs or alcohol it could present a problem for you. People with chronic diseases such as thyroid problems or cardiovascular disease are also considered to be more viulnerable.It might start with the shivers, shaking, tiredness laboured breathing, disjointed speech and the appearance that you are pale to the point of being almost grey. Or you may appear confused and disorientate, often misinterpreted as intoxicated. It can quickly deteriorate into a catastrophic situation, ultimately resulting in coma and death. So yes you can die from the cold.30, 000 people die every year in the UK due to the cold. To reduce your risk take the cold seriously and layer up before you go outside. Fashionistas beware you have got to cover your head and in extreme cold the balaclava is your best bet. Mittens are preferable to gloves as they keep your hands warmer and while finger less gloves may be in fashion there are absolutely vetoed when it comes to the big chill. Get out of damp or wet clothes as quickly as possible. This includes drying feet and hands rather than muddling though because the rest of you is ok. When it comes to your little ones limit the amount of time they spend out in the cold and always line them with one more layer that you would wear as an adult. Consider it double-glazing! Warm. Remember if you are exercising outdoors the combination of cold and excessive sweat can cause a rapid temperature drop. In terms of fuel costs it is essential to keep one room in the house heated to 18-21 degrees and the other rooms at a minimum of 16 degrees keeping internal doors and windows closed to trap the heat.

Dr Pixie McKenna  Beat the Cold

Dr Pixie McKenna
Beat the Cold