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How to stay well in winter

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather but you can take small steps to keep you and your family healthy over winter.

1. Boost your Vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D is needed for healthy teeth, bones and muscles and it may help support our immune system. 

When outdoors during the spring and summer, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on the skin but in the UK 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 alone, it's advised to take a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter.

Foods that contain vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as some fat spreads and cereals. Read more ways to boost your vitamin D intake.

Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing the recommended amounts of vitamin D

2. Keep up to date with vaccinations. Make sure you have received a flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine if you are eligible, and have had all your COVID-19 vaccinations. Parents are particularly encouraged to get their children vaccinated against flu when they can.

3. When you have symptoms of an infection, such as a temperature, new cough, feeling unwell, diarrhoea or vomiting, try to avoid contact with or keep your distance from others.

4. Wash your hands - it really does help to stop the spread of infection; wash or sanitise your hands regularly especially after going to the toilet, before eating food, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

5. Eat at least one hot healthy meal a day and keep hydrated with six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day.

6. If you are vulnerable to serious illness, keep your house warm (at least 18°C).

7. Look out for vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends.

Find more tips on how to stay well in winter on the NHS website.