The colder months can pose unique challenges if you have a liver condition, as cold weather may compromise the immune system and impact metabolism.
By staying warm, you contribute to maintaining a robust immune response, reducing the risk of complications during the winter months. Also, the liver plays a central role in metabolism, and cold weather can add an extra layer of stress. When temperatures drop, our bodies work harder to maintain internal warmth, potentially placing additional demands on the liver. Ensuring you stay warm helps support optimal liver function.
Here are some top tips for staying warm and healthy in the colder months.
Staying warm indoors
Heat the rooms you try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room or bedroom, to at least 18°C. If you are concerned about rising energy bills and prices, please visit Cost of living support - British Liver Trust
There are also affordable and cost-free measures to ensure warmth at home. Simple practices like consuming hot beverages regularly, using blankets or hot water bottles, shutting bedroom windows during the night, and using draft excluders or blockers to minimise cold air infiltration can significantly contribute to maintaining a comfortable temperature indoors. Additionally, avoid prolonged periods of inactivity by walking around and incorporating occasional stretching of arms and legs to generate warmth.
Getting outside is important for your mental and physical wellbeing but it’s crucial to take measures to protect yourself from the cold air. When out, consider warming up the air you breathe by adopting practices such as breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Additionally, wearing a mask or loosely wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth when outside can provide an extra layer of protection.
Also, when outside, it's important to keep your head, hands, and feet warm by wearing a hat, gloves, and thick or extra socks. Layering with thinner clothing, as opposed to relying on a single thick layer, and considering the use of thermal underwear can further enhance your ability to stay warm.
Managing your health
Combat the dehydrating effects of cold weather by drinking plenty of water and sipping on warm fluids and soup. Adequate hydration supports overall liver function and helps maintain body warmth. Warm meals also help naturally raise your body temperature.
If you have a liver condition, it’s important to stay up to date with vaccinations that you are eligible for. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu is an essential step in protecting your health during the winter months. These vaccines not only help prevent serious illness but also contribute to overall immune system resilience. Find out more here; Update for people with liver disease on the Covid-19 vaccine - British Liver Trust
It’s also important to address colds and sore throats promptly, utilising resources provided by NHS England that outline self-management steps and guidance on when it might be advisable to seek further advice and treatment. Visit Common cold - NHS (www.nhs.uk) or Sore throat - NHS (www.nhs.uk).
For more advice on these support measures or about how to stay warm and well during cold weather, further information can be found on: