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Don’t Let These Common Winter Woes Get the Best of You

Luis Sandoval, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Ana Medical Offices. He offers these tips for all of us to have a healthier, happier winter season.

The first day of winter is Dec. 21, and with its arrival, we see a spike in certain ailments. The drop in temperature, the demands of the season and the sudden disruption of our regularly scheduled activities can take a major toll on our overall health. Here are a few tips to help all of us stay healthy all season long.

Take preventive measures to stay flu free: In addition to getting the flu vaccine, there are other steps we take everyday to keep ourselves healthy. Washing our hands often; coughing or sneezing into the crook of our elbows; eating healthy foods — including immune-boosting foods, like berries and citrus fruits; exercising regularly; and getting plenty of rest can all be valuable.

Be extra attentive with those who suffer from chronic respiratory conditions: Both a cold and the flu can trigger an asthma attack, cause shortness of breath, lead to serious infections like pneumonia or result in other life-threatening complications. If prescribed, use an inhaler preventatively. Wearing a scarf around the mouth and nose is another simple solution. This warms the air you breathe in, keeping your airways open.

The change in weather and the sudden drop in temperature can increase the number of headaches — especially among chronic headache sufferers. Sinus headaches are often caused by a drop in barometric pressure. Overexertion or stress can bring on tension headaches. Migraine headaches can be triggered by certain foods, skipping meals or not getting enough rest. If you are prone to headaches, take extra precautions during the winter months. Healthy diet, rest and exercise can reduce their incidence.

Staying hydrated is as essential to your health during the chilly winter months as it is during the sweltering summer months. The lack of moisture in the air can cause dry skin, bloody noses and chapped lips. Proper hydration is essential to prevent these ailments, but most importantly, it can also protect you from more serious conditions, like hypothermia and frostbite.

Holiday stress can make you feel overwhelmed: Learn how to manage and cope with the demands of the season. Ask for help, take time to care for yourself, realize that you just can’t be everywhere and that it’s OK to say no. Keep in mind that long-term stress can cause a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, an abnormal heart rate, increased blood-sugar levels, depression and anxiety.

Seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as the holiday or winter blues, is a form of depression that we often see this time of year. Symptoms of SAD can include fatigue, lack of interest in normal activities, social withdrawal and even weight gain. For most people, these symptoms usually disappear as spring arrives. If symptoms persist, talk to your physician.

The holiday festivities can take a serious toll on our gastrointestinal health. During the last weeks of the year, cases of heartburn greatly increase, often because of overeating, indulging in rich, greasy foods, eating too late or too quickly, or because of increased alcohol consumption. While most cases aren’t serious, it can cause pain and discomfort. Practice moderation and try to avoid problem foods.

Dr. Sandoval’s comprehensive treatment approach focuses on an individual’s total health: mind, body and spirit. He believes that by identifying and addressing underlying causes, implementing healthy lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and taking medication when necessary, he can determine the best treatment plan and work with his patients to restore their emotional and mental well-being.

The post Don’t Let These Common Winter Woes Get the Best of You appeared first on Kaiser Permanente Share.

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Friend Reveals the Queen’s Secret ‘Sad Discussion’ About Diana’s Stress During Marriage Woes: ‘She Was So Worried’

A friend of Princess Diana‘s  revealed in a new documentary that Queen Elizabeth was concerned about her wellbeing as reports of her sadness began to circulate during the dissolution of her marriage to Prince Charles.

In an interview for ITV’s Our Mother Diana: Her Life and Legacy special — which airs in the U.K. on Monday — Harry Herbert, who was close of Diana’s and is also a friend of the royal family, says he was asked by the Queen if he could confirm the growing rumors about Diana’s sadness.

The deeply personal conversation came one afternoon following a lunch at Balmoral, the Queen’s estate in the Scottish Highlands.

“The Queen wanted to talk to me about it because she was so worried, she was so, you know, worried about — worried about Diana,” Herbert said.

“Looking down onto this beautiful setting of heather and castle, an incredibly, you know, important chat, a very personal,” Herbert – who is the son of the Queen’s late former racing manager, “Porchie” — recalls. “And the Queen wanted to know how was Diana feeling, and was it as bad as — as it was. It was a sad discussion, a sad moment really because that was everything at its worst.”

Soon afterwards, Herbert was at Kensington Palace visiting with the princess, “when things weren’t particularly easy in her married life” – and revealed that her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were able to snap her out of her private turmoil.

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“Suddenly, these two boys came thundering round the corner in their dressing gowns — this was before bed — and just watching her face light up, going from sad chat to suddenly — boof!” he said. “I’ll never forget that moment, and them crawling all over her and things flying everywhere.”

“And through all the difficulty of other stuff at that time, you could see it was the most important thing in her life were her boys.”

Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy will air Monday at 9 p.m. in the U.K. on ITV.

The show is one of several commemorations of the Princess in print and on film. PEOPLE and ABC have partnered in a two-night television event The Story of Diana, airing on Aug. 9 and 10 at 9 p.m. ET.

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