A to Z of Autumn Health; We've Found 26 of the Best Tips to Keep You Feeling Good All the Waythrough to Spring

Article excerpt

Ais for allergies: Hayfever isn't just a summer phenomenon - seasonal allergies are just as likely in autumn. If your throat is itchy rather than sore, you sneeze a lot but don't cough much, and the mucus is clear when you blow your nose, you're better off shopping for antihistamines than cold remedies.

Bis for bacteria: American scientists researching the number of bacteria present on a group of 51 college students identified 4,742 species of bacteria overall, and when you think about all the door handles, computer keyboards and handrails we all touch every day that's not surprising. Tackle the problem by carrying a bottle of hand sanitiser in your bag, and using it periodically through the day, particularly before you eat.

C is for cleaning: Don't wait for spring to have a good clear out. You'll spend more time indoors as the weather gets worse, so creating a calm environment is important if you want to keep stress levels down. It'll also give you a chance to have a thorough clean, reducing germs and therefore your chances of getting ill.

Dis for drinking: With the nights starting earlier, it's easier to reach for a glass of wine sooner than you usually do, which could raise your alcohol consumption. And yet gloomy, dull autumn days are just the time to avoid excess alcohol, which acts as a depressant and can lower the immune system.

Eis for exercise: It may be the last thing you feel like doing as the days start to grow colder and shorter, and the weather makes outdoor options like jogging and tennis less desirable, but autumn is just the time when exercise is most important. Not only will it keep you fit, but the endorphins released will help tackle the dreaded winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Fis for friends: Believe it or not, seeing your friends is good for your health. Recent studies have shown that not engaging with other people - which can be tempting when hibernation mode sets in - can pose health risks similar to high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.

Gis for garlic: Not only does garlic reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and aid blood flow, it's also been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of catching a cold by as much as 50%. To avoid nasty breath, eat parsley after garlic, and your breath should stay sweet.

His for health spa: Say the word "spa" and you tend to think pampering facials, but a spa break could be good for you too. Not only are there plenty of rejuvenating and detoxing treatments available, plus exercise classes and healthy diet plans, but because stress can lower the immunity, even the sheer act of relaxing is good for the health.

Iis for ice: When the first frosts start, the hospitals see a rise in the number of people coming in with broken bones. Avoid a nasty fall by choosing your footwear carefully. If you do have to totter about in heels, score the base of the shoe with a knife to improve grip - and walk slowly!

J is for jab: If you're over 65, suffer from asthma or other breathing problems, or simply have a weak immune system, then do yourself a favour - get the flu jab. Yes, it may make you feel a bit grotty for a couple of days, but that's nothing to how bad you're going to feel if you don't get it and do get struck down by the flu.

Kis for kit: Now's the time to get your medical kit stocked up, so when illness does strike you don't have to trek out to the shops to get what you need. Painkillers, fluid replacement sachets, cough syrup and decongestants are all autumn essentials - and a good supply of tissues of course.

Lis for light therapy: If you're really dreading the moment the clocks turn back, knowing that the darker it gets the more depressed you'll feel, you could have Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This is actually easier to treat that you'd think, for example with light therapy, so book an appointment with your GP to discuss the options. …