Take a post-chill pill

If winter's health bugs refuse to leave your side, here are what they could indicate and how to deal with them

We've had one of the longest winters in years, and not just that, for a change it has been cold. While having dry lips and those pesky colds are nature's way of balancing out the great weather, now that summer is beckoning, the seasonal bugs should have left you alone. If they haven't there might be something larger at play. Here is a list of common winter issues that could indicate heath risks that you must pay attention to.

Dry lips, could be: Too much Vitamin A

Our mouths tend to be the first casualty of the cold weather and many people have slightly chapped lips in the winter. But if you are still suffering from severely dry lips then it could also mean you're consuming too much vitamin A. Women need 0.6mg of vitamin A per day and should be able to get this purely from their daily diet.

Anyone consuming more than 1.5mg a day is putting themselves at increased risk of bone fractures in later life.

Fix it: Ensure any multi-vitamins you take don't include vitamin A. Fish liver oil contains high quantities of this. Also, if you're deficient in vitamin D you could be more at risk of the harmful effects of too much vitamin A. So ensure you eat enough oily fish and fortified cereals .

Feeling lethargic, could be: An underactive thyroid

Not many of us are lucky enough to spring out of bed each day with boundless energy but there's a big difference between feeling tired occasionally and constant lethargia. So if you're still suffering from lingering winter blues, then it's time to act fast as it could be your thyroid gland that's to blame. It's estimated that one in 50 women are suffering from an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.

This is where the thyroid, the gland at the front of the neck responsible for controlling the speed of our bodily functions, stops working properly. As the bodily functions slow down sufferers can also experience tiredness, weight gain, loss of libido, constipation and depression.

Fix it: A blood test can determine whether the thyroid is functioning properly and if not your GP will prescribe hormone replacement medication. In most cases you will need to take the medication for life.

Dry skin, could be: Dermatitis

It's this time of year when we all start looking forward to the days of dewy summer skin. But if you're a long way away from that holiday glow it doesn't mean your skin should resemble a reptile's.

You should have regained some the moisture your used to have. If you've noticed that your skin is still feeling dry, itchy or scaly it may be that you have a skin condition called dermatitis. This is caused either by coming into contact with an irritant or because the immune system has triggered a hypersensitive reaction to a substance.

Fix it: Make a list of substances that come into contact with your skin and work out which one is causing the reaction. If possible, avoid the irritant in future or wear gloves to minimize exposure.

Antihistamine tablets can sometimes ease redness and itching and your GP can provide you with a soap substitute or emollient cream. In severe cases you will be referred to a dermatologist.

Constant colds, could be: Anaemia

Adults should expect to get around four colds a year but if you are still catching every bug around then it may be that you are suffering from an iron deficiency. You might find that you also have dark circles under your eyes, feel constantly tired and are suffering from headaches and shortness of breath.

Fix it: Your GP can give you a simple blood test to check if you have anaemia. If you do lack iron, then make sure you eat lots of lean meat, dark green vegetables, and seeds and fortified cereals. Eating vitamin C rich foods in the same meal will help the body to absorb iron.

-Daily Mirror

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