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Preparing to be Healthy in the Winter

As Autumn progresses towards Winter, we have put together some suggestions for you on how to remain well and healthy and look at some common health issues. Mental Health and feeling of wellbeing

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.

Symptoms of SAD

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • A persistent low mood

  • A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

  • Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Decreased sex drive

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities. There are some ways that you can treat this during your daily routine, including:

  • Using a special light box or SAD lamp for about 30 minutes per day

  • Making sure you receive daylight by going outside particularly when it is a bright day is helpful

Another type of treatment for seasonal health, is a ‘Dawn simulator’ which uses a time-activated light to mimic the sunrise as a way to help stimulate the body’s clock. Interestingly this simple device, which can also be an alarm clock, has been used by several of the staff at the practice to great success.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for healthy bones and muscles and there is evidence it is important in fighting viruses. Approximately 20% of the population in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency, and 60% of the population are considered to have insufficient levels of vitamin D. This can lead to bone problems such as rickets in children, and bone pain and muscle weakness in adults, which may also increase the risk of falls in older people. 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. Some of us are more at risk of not having enough vitamin D even in spring and summer, including those with dark skin (such as those with African, African- Caribbean or south Asian backgrounds), those who are not outdoors often, those in care homes, and those who cover up most of the skin when outdoors. We advise these people to take a vitamin D supplement all year round.

Topping up your Vitamin D at My Specialist GP

We advise a blood test to assess the levels and then if indicated, an Intramuscular injection that will last for 6-12 weeks. We aim to achieve a level of 120 for optimal health. At My Specialist GP you can have a blood test to check your Vitamin D level and then an injection of Vitamin D for £99. Winter Viruses Let’s start with the cold and flu, since they’ve been around and studied for much longer than COVID-19. While it can strike at any time, the flu begins to spread most in December and peaks in February – typically, the coldest stretch of the year.

The common cold also tends to strike in the cold months. It’s a myth that cold temperatures themselves cause the cold or flu, but the viruses that cause these infections thrive in dry, cold conditions. The cold weather also slows down our ability to clear the mucus in our noses, making it easier for viruses to infect our bodies. Risks for infection can also increase based on where we spend most of our time during the winter: indoors. Here, we gather closely in spaces that may offer less-than-ideal ventilation and cramped personal space. Heating systems also make indoor air drier. Studies have shown that these conditions can greatly affect the transmission of respiratory viruses.

How to reduce your chance of infection

Getting vaccinated for the flu and vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 are your best protection against serious illness and hospitalization. Simple measures such as frequent hand washing and using disposable tissues for sneezing also reduce the likelihood of transmission. Ideally ventilation of spaces will also improve our living environment. Getting the Flu Vaccine at My Specialist GP The flu vaccine is available at the practice for free for members or £35 for non-members.

We offer Vitamin D shots and the Flu Vaccine at My Specialist GP.

To book, you can email our admin team at, and our team will be able to get you booked in.

Alternatively, you can also call us on 01628 478036.


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