Winter is coming – and with it, comes colds, the flu and all manner of nasty bugs and viruses.
 

Staying well during winter isn’t easy, but there are some simple ways you can do your best to fight off any lurgies. Here, Boots Pharmacist Tom Kallis shares his best winter wellness hacks:

1. Be prepared – take action before you’re ill

Tom comments: “As the flu vaccination is updated every year to help ensure it’s targeting the most prevalent strains of the flu virus, and the protection afforded decreases over time, it’s important you get vaccinated annually.
 
“For the best protection, have the vaccination between September and early November.”

2. Sleep your way to health

Catching those zzz’s is super important for many reasons – including your immune system.
 
“Getting plenty of sleep is important for staying healthy and supporting your immune system, which is responsible for fighting off viruses,” comments Tom.
 
He also recommends a healthy diet and immunity supporting supplements to boost your health.

3. Don’t forget your eyes

Did you know you catch a cold or flu through your eyes? You can, so be careful.
 
“Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when you’ve been in public spaces as this can transfer the virus to yourself,” says Tom.
 
“Particular watch-outs are hanging straps and handrails on public transport and metal bars on shop counters. For a quick on-the-go fix, keep an anti-viral hand gel in your bag and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you can.”
 

4. Wash properly

Washing your hands is all well and good but Tom predicts many people don’t wash them properly – which means germs are still present.

He suggests you should be soaping and cleaning your hands for as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice; make sure you
use enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
 

5. Soak up winter sun

Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health, and while a Vitamin D-rich diet will help, it can be tricky to load up.
 
“The main natural source of vitamin D is from sunlight on skin, so it’s advisable to make sure you get natural sunlight exposure on your face, neck and upper arms every day where possible. 15-20 minutes exposure each day is usually adequate, taking care to avoid sunburn if it's a really sunny day, and always wearing SPF appropriate to your skin type and location.

“As you probably won’t be catching many rays in the British winter, you can top up your supplies with Vitamin D supplements in the greyer months.”