Winter is all about Christmas, woollies and scrumptious food. But it’s also the season of dehydration, runny noses, high blood pressure and allergies. As mercury levels dip all over the country, our health also takes a turn for the worse, courtesy some grave health mistakes we make during the winter. If you want to enjoy your winters without ending up at the clinic, there are some important dos and don’ts your doctor wants you to remember for the cold season. Dr Vasant Nagvekar, Infectious Disease Specialist, Global Hospitals, Mumbai shares some of the health mistakes we make in winter.

1 Not Drinking Enough Water

Winters increases your risk of dehydration. In the cold dry weather, sweat evaporates more rapidly, causing the water content in your body to go down. To makes matters worse, you feel less thirsty in the winters and your water intake reduces. So make it a point to drink enough water even if you are not thirsty.  Winter Health Tips: Expert Advise On How to Stay Fit During Cold Weather.

2 Not Washing Hands

Cold weather causes a spike in the number of viral infections and a majority of it can be curbed by simply washing your hands. Your skin comes in contact with transient flora that hops on to your hands when you touch contaminated objects or sick people. Hand washing helps remove the pathogens that commonly cause infections and reduces your chances of catching a cold or a flu.

3 Not Sleeping Enough

Nothing feels better than staying for a little longer in the bed during winters. Despite this, many of us are still sleep deprived. A lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to winter infections such as colds and flu. So catch your 40 winks during the winters. Weather Change Sickness: How Sudden Temperature Change Affects Our Health.

4 Wear Multi-Layered Clothing

Layering is not only fashionable during the winters, but also practical. Wearing multiple layers of clothes keeps you warmer and keep your extremities from freezing off. So suit up in your jackets, mufflers and mittens.

5 Overcrowding

It’s fun to huddle together when it gets cold. But did you know that’s the easiest way to catch a flu? Staying in close proximity with others increases chances of coming in contact with sick people, allowing the viruses to spread more easily.

6 Not Using Air Filters in Airconditioning Devices

Dirty air filters inside air conditioning devices could be responsible for allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The filters may contain allergy-causing dust particles, pollen and other household debris. So keep them clean in the winter months.

7 Using Combustion Devices for Indoor Heating

Using combustion devices for indoor heating such as ovens and hibachis can be a bad idea during winters. These appliances can create the build-up of carbon monoxide in the indoor air.

8 Taking Antibiotics for Common Cold

One of the worst mistakes we make during the winters (or any other time of the year) is self-medicating. Taking antibiotics for common cold and flu is a common mistake. Instead, you should let your body’s immune response fight the infection naturally.

9 Overeating

The weather prompts us to rummage through our pantry, seeking snacks from time to time. It’s fun to binge or crispy, rich food during the winter. If you have underlying health problems like diabetes, cholesterol or hypertension, binge eating during the winters can warrant multiple trips to the doctors.

10 Staying Indoors

Who wants to venture out in the cold when it’s so warm and cosy at home? But that just may be the smartest thing to do this winter. Going for a walk during the winters is a good exercise. It also helps you soak up some winter sun.

Winter is probably the most awaited season in India, especially cold weather is so fleeting here. So make the most of it and avoid these simple mistakes. Stay healthy!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 09, 2019 05:09 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website