Read our guide to winter health conditions, and find out how health insurance (also known as private medical insurance) can safeguard you and your family
As the temperature drops outside, it’s more important than ever to consider your health — certain conditions and health risks are more prevalent during the colder months:
Contagious illnesses such as flu and norovirus are rife during the winter, and can become serious enough to result in hospitalisation.
Adverse weather conditions such as rain and ice can lead to slips and falls. The cold weather can also exacerbate pain from old injuries.
Many asthma sufferers find that cold weather can be a trigger for wheezing and shortness of breath, leading to a greater risk of asthma attacks.
While there are many risk factors, NHS figures show heart attacks are more common during the winter. This may be because your heart needs to work harder to maintain body heat in cold temperatures.
Winter health risks for the elderly
Winter can open up more health risks for the elderly as minor illnesses such as colds and flu can progress quickly into serious health conditions. This is also the case for those with weak immune systems or underlying health conditions, so it’s important for these groups to take particular care of their health in the colder months.
Staying healthy in the winter
It can be tempting to stay indoors and hibernate when the temperature drops outside, and many of us turn to comfort food and overindulge when the festive season comes along. But there are simple things you can do to ensure you remain healthy through the colder months:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Enjoy warming meals including plenty of seasonal vegetables, and try to limit alcohol, junk food and sugary snacks.
- Try to get plenty of sleep. Many people find it easier to sleep in the winter due to the season’s shorter days, so make the most of the dark nights and ensure you get 7-9 hours’ rest every night.
- Get some exercise. You don’t need to join a gym — even gentle exercise such as a winter walk can help to maintain your health and boost energy.
- Stay warm. This is especially important for older people whose health can suffer in the cold weather.
- Quit smoking. Winter is a great time to stub out the habit, as you could be less tempted to step outside in the cold to smoke. And you’re more likely to get cheap life and health insurance once you quit.
Get a health checkup. If you have any niggling health concerns, see your GP who can refer you to a specialist if necessary.
How can health insurance help?
While all UK residents have access to free healthcare through the NHS, many people appreciate the extra services and peace of mind a private medical insurance policy can provide.
Benefits of health insurance include:
- Prompt access to private treatment without NHS waiting lists
- In many cases you can choose your doctor and a hospital that is convenient for you
- Recover in a private en-suite room with WiFi and private TV
- Unrestricted visiting hours
- Freshly prepared, healthy meals
Your health insurance policy can be tailored to meet your budget and your needs. Cover can include consultations, surgery, nursing and private hospital recovery.
Health insurance can also provide valuable benefits in the case of an accident. While you would initially be treated in Accident and Emergency in these cases, you may be eligible to be moved to a private hospital for further treatment or during your recovery period.
Health insurance is a great option if you want quick access to high quality care and want greater choice. You can also choose to cover your family under your private medical policy so you all get the protection you need.
You can compare both individual and family health insurance policies in just a few minutes with uSwitch. Get started below: