As the season’s change so may some of our health and safety concerns.
The winter season can be hectic as many of us are preparing for and attending holiday celebrations. The weather is cooler, days are shorter, and many of us may find it hard to get enough physical activity. The snow and ice can create hazards that can make walking, playing and working outdoors a little trickier. It is also flu and cold season and many of us will come down with the flu or catch a cold. Throughout the winter, it is important that we continue to stay active, eat healthy, and take care of our families and ourselves.
For information on how to stay safe and healthy this winter, click on the links below.
The flu is an infection of the upper airway caused by an influenza virus. Every year there is a period of time where there are more outbreaks of the flu, this is called flu season. For more information about the flu and flu season, visit our Influenza (Flu) Season health feature.
Throughout the winter season, temperatures will drop, and it may be very cold outside. Learn about cold exposure and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family:
- Cold Exposure: Ways the Body Loses Heat
- Cold Temperature Exposure
- Dry Skin and Itching
- Hypothermia and Cold Temperature Exposure
Depression, Anxiety and Stress
The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Also, the shorter and colder days may cause some of us to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Learn more about depression, anxiety and stress:
- Depression and the Holidays
- Mental Health
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Stress Management
Falls and Injuries
The snow and ice can create hazards that make walking, playing, and working outside a little trickier than in the warmer months. Shovelling snow and doing winter activities, such as snowboarding and skating, can increase the risk of hurting your back. Learn more about how to prevent falls and injuries:
- Back Problems and Injuries
- Finger, Hand, and Wrist Injuries
- Preventing Falls in Older Adults
- Seniors' Falls Can Be Prevented
- Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries
Other Common Illnesses in Winter
In addition to colds and flu, there are some other conditions and illnesses that are more common or are worse during the winter months. Learn more about some of these common conditions:
- Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
- Ear Infections
- Gastroenteritis in Adults and Older Children
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sore Throat and Other Throat Problems
Healthy Eating During the Holidays
Eating well during the holiday season can be a challenge. Click on the links below to learn more about how you can enjoy the holiday festivities while continuing to eat healthy.
- Eating Healthy at Holiday Parties
- Healthy Eating Guidelines For Lower Sodium (Salt) Eating
- Healthy Snacks for Adults (HealthLinkBC File #68i)
- Heart Healthy Tips for Celebrations: Guidelines for Eating and Celebrations
- How to Stay Motivated: Meet Your Goals For The Year
- Lighten Up Your Holiday Recipes
- Manage Holiday Cheer One Drink at a Time
- Meal and Snack Ideas for Your 1 to 3 Year Old Child (HealthLinkBC File #69e)
- One Ingredient at a Time: How to Lighten Up Your Holiday Recipes
- Sweet, Savoury, Delicious Holiday Foods: Tips for Eating Healthy at Holiday Parties
As the weather gets colder and there are less hours of daylight, it can be hard to stay physically active. Click on the links below to learn how you and your family can stay active throughout the winter.
- Fitness: Getting and Staying Active
- Physical Activity for Children and Teenagers
- Physical Activity in Winter
- Quick Tips: Getting Active as a Family
- Quick Tips: Staying Active in Cold Weather
As we start a new year, many of us will set goals for our health. For some of us that may mean quitting smoking. Learn more about quitting smoking and the smoking cessation program for B.C. residents:
- Interactive Tool: Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?
- Quit Smoking
- Quitting Smoking (HealthLinkBC File #30c)
- The Harmful Effects of Second-hand Smoke (HealthLinkBC File #30a)
- Tobacco Products are not a Safe Alternative to Cigarettes (HealthLinkBC File #30b)
When to Visit the Emergency Room
The Emergency Room (ER) in hospitals can be very busy, especially during the holidays. Always go to the ER for serious and life-threatening issues like
- heart attack or stroke
- heavy bleeding
- severe breathing difficulties
- severe burns, ongoing seizures
- a major accident
For those with non-emergency health questions and concerns, there may be better options than visiting an ER If you are unsure if a health concern is an emergency, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 for advice.
Taking a proactive approach to your health can also help you make decisions on when to seek care, click on the links below for more information.
Fraser Health Authority
Tips to keep you fit, healthy and happy over winter.
ImmunizeBC works to improve the health of British Columbians and reduce the number of infections by vaccine-preventable diseases. They provide information on immunizations to individuals, families and health care providers. They also provide tools to make it easier for B.C. families to get immunized. Learn more about the flu and the flu vaccine and where to find flu clinics across the province:
- A Parent’s Guide to Vaccination (PDF 1.72 MB)
- Get immunization reminders by text message!
- Influenza Clinic Finder
Last Reviewed: December 2018