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Five ways to stay healthy this spring

March 22, 2024
Five ways to stay healthy this spring
March 22, 2024

Spring has officially sprung, which means longer, lighter days and less coughs, colds and bugs flying around, hopefully. 

Although winter is commonly associated with flu season and getting struck down with bugs that do the rounds at school, work or home, don’t get too complacent about sickness this spring.

‘Although some viruses struggle to survive as temperatures warm up, it is still possible to catch flu, norovirus and other “winter bugs” all year round – especially if we have a colder than average or particularly wet spring,’ says ZoomDoc GP, Dr Clare Tong.

And it’s not just common viruses that can continue to circulate. 

According to the latest UKHSA figures, measles is still spreading. Between 19 February and 18 March this year (2024), there were 158 confirmed cases in the UK. To put that into context, there were a total of 54 cases in the whole of 2022 and in 2017, the UK was awarded a measles-free status (source: Gov.uk), meaning a successful vaccination program had eradicated this potentially fatal disease.

Spring is also when hay fever can catch people by surprise.

‘What you may think is a cough, cold or virus could actually be a pollen allergy kicking in,’ says Dr Clare.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, she adds:

‘There is often a slowing down in the amount of viruses circulating and we rarely see the high numbers of seasonal flu that spike in the winter months. And of course, just being able to get out in the fresh air more and feel some sunshine can be hugely beneficial both for your physical and mental health.’

With that in mind, here are some easy ways to support your health and wellness this spring.

  • Get some sunshine

Sunshine boosts your body’s level of serotonin, which is a chemical that improves your mood and helps you stay calm and focused.


A healthy balanced diet with an array of vitamins is key for supporting a healthy immune system. 

However, during the winter it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D, because the best source of it is sunlight. In spring this changes, says Dr Clare.

‘From about late March/early April until the end of September, most of us should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.’

Experts generally say that 10-15 minutes of sun exposure will provide you with your recommended daily allowance. 

You cannot get too much vitamin D through sun exposure but if the sun is strong or you’re out for long periods, remember to protect your skin with SPF to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

  • Get fully vaccinated


It is important that you have received the vaccines that are recommended to protect yourself and stay healthy.


As mentioned earlier, with measles continuing to circulate – particularly amongst children – the easiest way to avoid you or your family catching a preventative disease is to get vaccinated. 

The MMR jab protects against measles, mumps and rubella – diseases that have the potential to cause severe complications – so make sure you and your children are up to date.

Read more about the MMR vaccine here

And as well as measles, other preventable diseases such as flu, meningitis and polio can all be avoided whatever the season by staying up to date with routine immunisations.

‘It’s never too late to catch up on your vaccinations – just call your GP to book in for anything you’re due to have or may have missed,’ says Dr Clare.

Make sure you’re up to date with vaccinations.

  • Wash your hands well

Washing hands help stop people picking up infections and spreading them to others.


The single best thing we can all do to reduce the risk of germs spreading, whatever the season, is washing our hands – particularly before handling food or eating. 

‘It’s a really simple and effective way to stop germs spreading or entering our bodies,’ says Dr Clare. 

There’s plenty of evidence to back this up too – with studies finding that hand washing can prevent about 30% of stomach bugs and about 20% of respiratory infections (colds). 

Do not forget to use soap and water to wash them properly for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Remember that antibacterial gels do not kill norovirus germs. 

  • Start taking your hay fever medication


Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever.


One of the most common mistakes hay fever sufferers make is not starting their medication early enough. 

If you have a tree pollen allergy – affecting around 25% of cases – then this can kick in as early as March and last until May, according to Met Office guidance. 

‘So start your antihistamines as soon as possible,’ says Dr Clare.

‘You want them to be in your system ready for when the pollen enters your nasal passages and eyes. Otherwise you will suffer with symptoms as your body tries to catch up. Pre-empting pollen season is key to managing your symptoms,’ she says.

If your hay fever usually starts later on, in June or July, then yours is probably triggered by grass pollen. 

‘Keep and eye on forecasts and start your medication a couple of weeks beforehand,’ says Dr Clare.


  • Eat well, move more


Spring is the perfect time to enjoy a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Look for produce that is in season.


This is a great time of year to eat the rainbow, packing in as many of these seasonal fruits and vegetables as you can into your daily diet:

  • bananas
  • kiwis
  • pineapples
  • strawberries
  • asparagus
  • kale
  • spring greens.


Eating seasonally isn’t just tastier, it’s also healthier, too with food experts advocating that fruit and veg contain more of the nutrients we at them for when grown in their natural season.


The British Nutrition Foundation recommends eating seasonally, explaining that seasonal fruit and vegetables have higher vitamin C content, ‘so the fresher the better’. 


And now that the days are longer and milder, what better time than to fit in some daily exercise?


The NHS says that exercise ‘can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.’


It adds that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of:


  • long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers
  • stress
  • depression
  • dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


It also says that ‘physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.’


For any spring-related illness concerns – or simply to ask for some medical advice – contact ZoomDoc via our app and get a GP appointment to suit you.


Download our app here

Want to know more?

Our team of Doctors are available via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries.