Winter Wellness
June 28, 2024

Winter Wellness: Recognise Weather Change Sickness Symptoms Early

As the winter season approaches, so does the increase in weather change sickness symptoms, affecting numerous individuals globally. The drop in temperature brings with it not only the picturesque snowfall and cozy nights by the fire but also a rise in illnesses such as the common cold, influenza, and , recently noted, cases of COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Recognising these symptoms early can be crucial in preventing the onset of more serious health issues and ensuring a healthier season for everyone. The importance of being informed and prepared for these seasonal changes cannot be overstated, especially in a world where health has become a paramount concern.

This article explores practical strategies to prevent common winter illnesses, effective home remedies for those already experiencing symptoms, and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the colder months. Additionally, it will cover how to prepare your home to create a safe and comforting environment that combats the spread of illnesses like COVID-19 and RSV. By understanding and implementing these guidelines, readers can better navigate the winter season, keeping weather-change sickness symptoms at bay for themselves and their loved ones.

Prevent Common Winter Illnesses

Common Winter Illnesses Overview

As temperatures drop, individuals spend more time indoors, increasing the risk of spreading viruses such as the flu, COVID-19, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The cold, dry air of winter can weaken resistance, making it easier for these viruses to transmit from one person to another [1][2].

Vaccination Importance

Vaccinations are a critical line of defence against common winter illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older receive an updated 2024-2025 flu vaccine to reduce the risk of influenza and its potentially serious complications [3]. Additionally, the updated 2024-2025 COVID-19 vaccines are advised to protect against the severe outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death [3]. For those particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly and young children, the pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended to help prevent pneumonia [4]. More Information on Vaccination.

Hygiene Practices to Prevent Illness

Maintaining good hygiene is essential in preventing the spread of winter illnesses. Regular hand washing, especially after coughing, sneezing, or being in public spaces, is crucial [5]. It is safe and effective to use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when soap and water are not available [5]. Covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or the crook of your elbow can significantly reduce the spread of germs [5]. Additionally, cleaning frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and countertops helps to eliminate viruses that can live on surfaces for extended periods [6][5].

Home Remedies for Winter Ailments

Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu

During the colder months, the discomfort of colds and flu can be alleviated using simple home remedies. A warm bowl of chicken soup not only hydrates but may also slow the movement of neutrophils, cells that help protect against infection, thus potentially aiding in faster recovery [7]. Ginger tea, recognised for its anti-inflammatory properties, can soothe sore throats and ease nausea. Adding honey, which has antibacterial properties, can further soothe a sore throat [7].

Treating Dry Skin and Chapped Lips

Winter air can be harsh on the skin and lips. To combat dryness, using a humidifier can add necessary moisture to the air, helping to prevent skin and lip dryness [8]. For chapped lips, dermatologists recommend applying a non-irritating lip balm multiple times a day and choosing products with hydrating ingredients such as castor seed oil or shea butter. Avoiding irritants like menthol and fragrances is crucial to prevent further irritation [9].

Using Humidifiers and Nasal Sprays

Maintaining optimal humidity levels in the home (between 30% and 50%) can significantly benefit respiratory health and skin hydration [10]. Humidifiers increase air moisture, which can help alleviate symptoms of nasal congestion and dry throat, especially in children and individuals with respiratory issues [8]. Additionally, saline nasal sprays or rinses can moisturise dry nasal passages and help reduce nasal congestion, offering relief without medication use [10].

By integrating these home remedies into their daily routine, individuals can effectively manage the symptoms associated with winter ailments, leading to a more comfortable season.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Balancing Diet and Exercise

Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise routine is crucial during the colder months. Incorporating seasonal produce such as kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits into meals adds essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, supporting overall health [11]. Protein is equally essential; include lean sources like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, legumes, and low-fat dairy products to feel full and satisfied [11]. Additionally, engaging in daily physical activities, whether it’s indoor workouts or winter sports like skiing and ice skating, not only boosts physical health but also enhances mental well-being [12].

Staying Hydrated

Despite the cold weather, staying hydrated is essential for maintaining optimal health. The body can lose a significant amount of fluids through the skin and respiratory system due to the dry winter air [13]. Drinking warm fluids, like herbal teas or broths, can make hydration more appealing and effective during winter [13]. Carrying a water bottle and setting a daily intake goal can ensure consistent daily hydration [13]. It’s also advisable to limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these can contribute to dehydration [14].

Ensuring Regular Medical Check-ups

Regular health check-ups are pivotal in maintaining health, especially during winter. They help identify and manage potential health issues before they become severe [15]. Vaccinations are also a vital part of preventative health care; ensuring up-to-date influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations can significantly reduce the risk of severe illness [16]. For those at higher risk, such as the elderly or individuals with preexisting conditions, regular visits to the doctor are crucial for monitoring health status and managing any changes that might occur due to the cold weather [17].

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Insulating Your Home

Insulating your home is a crucial step in preparing for winter. Proper insulation helps maintain the warmth inside and reduces energy costs. It's essential to ensure that your home has adequate insulation on the roof, walls, and floors. An uninsulated home can lose 25–35% of its warmth through the roof alone. Installing insulation can save hundreds of dollars annually on energy costs [18][19]. For those who prefer a hands-on approach, DIY insulation can be a cost-effective solution, though it requires careful handling to avoid risks like fires or electrical issues [18]. Always consider professional installation for complex areas like walls and floors to ensure safety and effectiveness [20].

Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

During winter, maintaining indoor air quality is vital due to increased time spent indoors. Homes can become reservoirs for pollutants such as mould, dust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be more concentrated when windows are closed [21][22]. To combat this, use air purifiers and ensure your heating system is well-maintained. Regularly replacing air filters and checking heating ducts can prevent the circulation of pollutants. Additionally, non-toxic cleaning products should be considered, and ventilation should be increased by opening windows briefly daily to dilute indoor pollutants [22].

Stocking Up on Health Essentials

Preparing for winter also involves stocking up on health essentials to manage cold and flu symptoms. Keep a supply of tissues, hand sanitisers, and over-the-counter medications ready. It's also wise to have essential items like water, non-perishable food, and a first-aid kit in case of emergencies like blizzards that could leave you isolated [23][24]. Ensuring you have sufficient supplies can prevent last-minute trips to the store in harsh weather conditions and help maintain health and comfort during the winter months.


As the chill of winter sets in, bringing with it the inherent risk of weather change sickness symptoms, this article has armed its readers with a comprehensive guide to not only recognising the signs early but also effectively preventing and managing them. From the critical importance of vaccinations and maintaining impeccable hygiene to the simple yet effective home remedies and lifestyle adjustments aimed at bolstering health, the insights offered here are indispensable. The strategies laid out underscore a proactive approach towards ensuring a healthier winter season, emphasizing the power of preparedness and informed action in the face of common seasonal ailments.

Furthermore, the discussion on prepping the home environment acts as a reminder of the significance of creating a safe and comfortable sanctuary that supports well-being during the colder months. By following the guidelines on home insulation, air quality maintenance, and stocking up on health essentials, readers are better positioned to combat winter's challenges. The broader implications of these measures extend beyond mere comfort, touching on the critical aspect of health preservation in cold weather. Embracing the advice provided promises not only a more enjoyable winter but also a season marked by robust health and vitality, safeguarding against the discomfort and potential hazards of weather change sickness.


1. Can changes in weather cause illness?
Yes, changes in weather can indeed make some people feel sick. The onset of different seasons, like fall and winter, can trigger colds, seasonal allergies, or other respiratory illnesses. According to Dr. Bast, certain bacteria and viruses flourish in specific weather conditions.

2. How can I prevent getting sick with each change in weather?
To avoid getting sick during seasonal transitions, consider the following tips:

  • Include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet.
  • Ensure you stay hydrated.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others.
  • Keep yourself physically active.
  • Make sure you get adequate sleep.

3. Why does a change in barometric pressure make me feel unwell?
A drop in barometric pressure can cause the tissues in your lungs and brain to swell as they attempt to absorb more oxygen. This is similar to how a sponge changes size when squeezed and released. The swelling of brain tissues and dilated blood vessels can lead to headaches and a feeling of being unwell.

4. Why am I more likely to fall ill as winter approaches?
Research indicates that the immune system may become less effective in colder weather, particularly affecting the nose's role in germ filtration. When the nose is cold, the cells inside that usually fight viruses might not perform as effectively, increasing your susceptibility to illnesses.


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