Get ready for the months ahead with our winter wellness guide

This article is sponsored by Berocca, Sterimar, BetterYou, Centrum, Night Nurse, Dreamland, Bassetts Vitamins & Bio-Kult

As the cooler weather approaches and the dark nights draw in, it's time to enjoy the winter activities, get cosy and focus on your wellbeing.

However, it's during this time of year that we often see a spike in seasonal infections, particularly the cold and flu. It's important to look after your overall health, including supporting your immune system as we approach the winter season. With that in mind, we've put together our 10 top tips to help you prepare, so if or when the time comes, you'll be armed and ready to help protect you and your family.

So what can we do to support our wellness this winter?

It's important to look after your overall health, including supporting your immune system as we approach cold and flu season. With that in mind, we’ve put together our 10 top tips to help you prepare, so if or when the time comes, you’ll be armed with the best products to help provide some protection for you and your family.

1. Consider the flu jab

Nine times out of 10, we can agree that the winter months are a time for hibernating and getting cosy, but we’d argue it’s also a great time for visiting winter wonderlands, doing a spot of Christmas shopping and making s’mores around a bonfire. However, during the winter months, there’s a rise in cases of the seasonal flu virus which is spread by coughs and sneezes. In the winter months we tend to spend more time mixing indoors and cases tend to rise as a result.

If you're in an at risk group it's important to protect yourself from the flu. The flu vaccination is given free on the NHS to:

• Those aged 65 years and over
• Those with certain health conditions
• Those who are pregnant
• Some carers
• People who may be more vulnerable to severe infection due to a weakened immune system

One of the most effective ways to help protect yourself and those around you from catching and spreading the flu is to get the flu jab. At Boots, we offer the Winter Flu Jab Service which is free for those eligible through the NHS.* Alternatively, we offer a private service in most stores.**

2. Support your body with good nutrition

More time indoors, colder weather and darker nights – all these things can make us reach for comfort foods. But it’s important we don’t slip into bad habits during the winter as our bodies need fuelling with essential nutrients to support our health and immune system. While eating well won’t prevent you from catching winter illnesses, it can help you maintain your immune system, so if you do fall ill, it may help you recover a little quicker.

Sticking to a well-balanced and healthy diet is key. You could also cook up some warming meals, too but if you’re lacking inspiration, take a look at our Nutrition Hub.

3. Support your immune system

While eating a healthy and balanced diet is a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs to support your immune system, you may find it beneficial to take a multivitamin or mineral supplement if you’re unable to obtain certain vitamins or nutrients from your diet.^ However, it's recommended to speak to a pharmacist or GP before taking a supplement if you're taking any medicines or have a medical condition.

We have a wide range of vitamins and supplements, but here are some to consider, if you feel your diet may be lacking in specific nutrients, in addition to a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.

Consider: Berocca Immuno Effervescent Tablets Orange Flavour

• Size: 15 tablets

• Orange flavour

• Caffeine and sugar free

Face the winter lag and start every day off with Berocca’s most advanced formula for immune support. Each tablet is packed with high strength vitamin C and D to support the normal function of the immune system, plus eight other immunity vitamins and minerals including vitamins B6 and B12 which support energy release, vitamin B9 which helps reduce tiredness and fatigue, vitamin A and zinc which contribute to the maintenance of normal skin, as well as copper, iron and selenium which all support the immune system, too. Just pop one into a glass of water, watch it fizzle and then enjoy.

Consider: Bassetts Vitamins Woman 50+ Multivitamins & Multiminerals Orange & Lemon Flavour

• Size: 30 pastilles

• One-a-day

• No added sugar

• Natural flavours and colourings

As we get older, our nutritional needs may change, which is why the right nutrition for our bodies changes. These multivitamins are designed to support the specific nutritional needs of women over 50. Each deliciously-soft, citrusy pastille contains vitamins C and D and zinc to contribute to the normal function of the immune system, as well as iron and vitamins B6 and B12 to help reduce tiredness and fatigue, so you can go about your day knowing you’re giving your body the support it needs.

Consider: Bio-Kult Everyday Multi-Strain Formulation

• Size: 30 capsules

• 14 strains of live bacteria

• Each capsule contains: 2 billion live bacterial microorganisms

• No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives

• Suitable for vegetarians

Up to 70% of your immune system can be found in your gut.^^ With 14 unique gut-friendly strains of bacteria, these everyday capsules are scientifically developed to support your gut. Clinically proven to survive the high acidity of stomach acid, the live bacteria helps complement the existing gut flora that’s naturally present in a healthy person’s digestive system to help make life a little more digestible.

Consider: Centrum Kids Multivitamins Orange & Mixed Berry

• Size: 30 gummies

• Orange & mixed berry flavour

• Suitable for children aged four years and over

Backed by over 40 years of nutritional science, these delicious orange and mixed berry gummies from the world’s No.1 multivitamin brand contain vitamin C which contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and zinc which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

†Based on worldwide sales of Centrum range. To verify, email
4. Get moving

We know that exercising during the winter doesn’t quite have the same pull as it does during the warmer months and it can be much harder to find the motivation. But research has shown that exercise can help improve mood as well as being beneficial for your mental and physical health, while helping to reduce your risk of developing health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The NHS recommends adults between 19 and 64 years old do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, such as running or swimming. So despite the drop in temperature, wrap up warm and try to get out for a walk on brighter days. Or if you don’t fancy tackling the British weather, why not consider joining a gym (if you’re not already at one) or opting for home workouts instead?

Speak to your GP first if you haven’t exercised for some time, or if you have medical conditions or concerns. Make sure your activity and its intensity are appropriate for your fitness.

5. Make sure you get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both of which play an important role in keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Adults and children from the age of one year need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day, which includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency, too.

However, between late September and early March, the sunlight isn’t strong enough for our bodies to make the vitamin D it needs from sunlight alone. This means that we often rely on food sources for our daily vitamin D intake (such as oily fish and red meats), but it can be difficult to do this from our diet alone. This is where supplements come in.

The government recommends that all adults and children over the age of four years old consider taking a daily supplement with 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter months. It’s also important to note that some people who have little or no sunlight exposure all year round should consider taking a supplement throughout the year, for example those who:

• Aren’t often outdoors – for example, if they're frail or housebound

• Are in an institution like a care home

• Usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors 

We have a big selection of vitamin D supplements but here’s one to consider.

Consider: BetterYou Vitamin D 3000IU Daily Oral Spray

• Size: 15ml

• Natural peppermint flavour

• One spray contains 75 micrograms (3000 IU) of vitamin D3

• Pill-free

If you’re considering taking vitamin D throughout the winter months and you’re not a fan of tablets, why not try this oral spray instead? This fast absorbing spray gets to work... to help support your vitamin D levels. The daily spray of vitamin D helps contribute to the normal function of the immune system and the maintenance of normal bones, teeth and muscle function.

6. Stick to a regular sleep pattern

With the nights drawing in, it can be tempting to hibernate. But the NHS recommends adults get between seven and nine hours sleep per night, so try to keep to a regular sleeping schedule. If you find it hard to wake up due to the darker mornings, why not consider a sunrise alarm clock to help you wake up at the same time each morning?

If you’re coming down with a cold or flu, getting enough sleep can be more challenging. Try to keep cosy as well as turning off the tech 30-60 minutes before bed to allow your mind to wind down. Take a look at our top tips for a restful night’s slumber – they'll help you doze off in one, two, zzz.

7. Keep cosy

Living in the UK means our winter is often filled with blustery showers and damp weather – a far cry from the snow-filled winter we could only dream of. Because of this, it’s important to try and stay as cosy as possible.

If you’re able to, heat your home to a comfortable temperature, which is around 18°C for most people. This is especially important if you have a health condition or you’re more vulnerable to the effects of the cold weather including those over 65, babies and children under five as well as pregnant people.

Remember, there are other ways to keep warm even if you can’t heat your whole house. Start by keeping your windows closed at night and shutting any doors throughout the house to trap the heat in. Not forgetting the trusted hot water bottles, cosy jumpers and thick blankets for a little extra warmth.

The same rule applies if you’re heading outside, too. Wrap up warm in plenty of layers and kit your wardrobe out with woolly hats, scarfs and gloves to keep yourself nice and toasty.

Try: Dreamland Intelliheat Faux Fur Warming Throw

• Large size: 120cm x 160cm

• Alaskan Husky super soft faux fur

• Six temperature settings

• Machine washable and tumble dryer safe

• Two year guarantee

When the chilly nights hit, there’s no better feeling than snuggling up into a cosy blanket, which is why this warming Alaskan Husky faux fur throw is a must for the winter season. Heating up in just five minutes, energy saving from 1p to run†† and with auto safety controls, it’s both intelligent and irresistible to touch. So whether you’re feeling run down with a cold or you’re just wanting to cocoon yourself in luxury, this is guaranteed to see you through the colder months. All you need is a cup of tea and your comfort series to binge…again.

8. Stay hydrated

While this one seems a little obvious, we can’t blame people for not wanting cold water during the winter. After all, a nice hot chocolate seems much more appealing.

However, drinking plenty of water is just as important in the winter as it is the summer. Not only does it help regulate body temperature, but it also aids digestion while flushing toxins out of our bodies. So, stick to the recommended intake of six to eight glasses per day if you can, we have some great tips to help you out. This doesn’t just have to be water either, there’s plenty of ways to get your get your daily recommended amount of fluids with the occasional hot drink too. This includes water, lower-fat milk, sugar-free drinks and tea and coffee — who said you can't have the best of both?

9. Practice good hygiene

It goes without saying that one of the most effective ways to help prevent germs from spreading is to regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Do this before handling food and eating, after using the toilet and especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If you’re out and about, try to keep an antibacterial hand gel or wipes on you, too.

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

10. Relieve symptoms of cold & flu

Cold and flu viruses are more common during the winter, so if you or your family become ill, help to relieve symptoms with a cold and flu remedy, sore throat relief or other congestion relief medicine. Here are just a couple to consider.

Consider: Sterimar Hypertonic Congestion Relief

• Size: 100ml

• 100% natural

• Free from Steroids, drugs and preservatives

• Suitable from 3 years and up (excluding children’s range)

Help relieve the symptoms of colds and sinusitis with the 100% natural sea water based nasal spray. How? Sterimar Congestion Relief helps rapidly decongest the nose in the event of colds and sinusitis by washing out nasal cavities.

Consider: Night Nurse 160ml

• Size: 160ml

• Suitable for adults and children aged 16 years and over

• Contains paracetamol, promethazine hydrochloride and dextromethorphan hydrobromide

If cold and flu symptoms keep you up at night, let this night-time remedy aid a restful night’s sleep. The formulation of active ingredients work together to relieve tickly coughs, shivers, aches and pains, runny noses, sore throat pain and headaches so you can focus on getting that all important rest. Always read the label.

*The free NHS (or other locally funded) flu jab is available in most Boots pharmacies in England and Wales and in some Boots pharmacies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey. Also available in our Isle of Man pharmacy. Eligibility criteria apply and vary with locality. Subject to availability. Some people who do not meet the requirements for a free NHS (or other locally funded) flu jab in pharmacies can access the flu jab from their GP or in Scotland, at a vaccination centre. Speak to a member of our pharmacy team or see for more details.

**The Boots private Winter Flu Jab Service is available at over 1,950 Boots stores. Subject to specially trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria apply. Service costs £19.95 and £24.95 in Jersey. The service for those aged 11-15 is available in selected stores, injectable vaccine only. Appointments for those aged 11-15 are bookable in store only. See for more details.

^Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be substituted for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle.

^^Vighi, G, et al., 2008

††Precise cost to run per night/per use will be dependent on domestic electricity prices at the time of use.