Do not Fall Out of Fitness
Fall is coming and change is in the air! Days get shorter, the temperatures drop, the leaves start to turn from lush green to vibrant reds, yellows, oranges and gold, it starts to get dark earlier in the evenings and there is a call for knit layers. However, as autumn gradually whisks away summer, the changing season can also impact the human body and mood.

Bad Autumn Health Facts

With fall coming in and bringing winter soon, there are several bad habits that are particularly tempting and damaging to your health, like hibernating inside and withdrawing from social activities, not exercising and becoming a couch addict, avoiding fruits and vegetables and overeating with too much comfort food, drinking an excess of alcoholic drinks and forgetting about water… as well as drinking more coffee, tea and hot chocolate, which have diuretic effects resulting in bad hydrating levels. Do not forget that wintry weather can be harsh to all types of skin.

Sleeping more, shorter days and longer nights, result in lack of sunshine and ultraviolet light exposure, lowering vitamin D and energy levels.

Not to forget that the amazingly beautifully colored leaves covering everything on the earth’s surface at this special time of the year, can become a health hazard as the damp leaves harbor molds that can produce allergic reactions such as headaches, runny nose, itchy swollen eyes, bronchitis and asthma.

There is a strong tendency to get a bit blue during fall and winter, turning SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a depression disorder that arrises from a lack of sunlight, simply prevented by being proactive against the blues by getting outside in natural daylight as much as possible,


Health checks for autumn

As the season for colds aproaches here are simple steps that can help everyone to stay well.

  • First, have an annual check-up
  • Get a flu jab
  • The over-65s should book for pneumonia vaccination too; these last for 10 years and save lives.
  • Fighting fit with regular exercise as this plays an important role in maintaining health. With autumn colors at their most impressive, now is a good time to commit to a daily walk.

The Flu Season is Around the Corner

Fall  brings shorter days and cooler evenings and it is the time that we start seeing people getting sick with flu.

Flu is a major killer for vulnerable people.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications, hospitalisation, or even death.

People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.

Vaccination is the single best way to effectivly protect you and your family from this serious disease and, undoubtedly, the only single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year in the fall.

Anyway do not forget to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, to wash your hands often and to stay home if you get sick.

Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop full protection against the flu. 


Everyone Needs a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and different flu viruses can circulate and cause illness each season. Flu vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common. Also, immunity from vaccination declines after a year. This is why everyone needs a flu vaccine every season. The flu vaccine is safe.

Anyway there are people who cannot get the flu shot, mainly children younger than 6 months and people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine this season with rare exception, but it is especially important for some people to get vaccinated:

  • Children aged 6 months to 4 years
  • People aged 50 years and older;
  • People with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders includingdiabetes
  • People who are immunosuppressed by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
  • People who are aged 6 months to 18 years and receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk of experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection;
  • People who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
  • People who are morbidly obese (body-mass index is 40 or greater);
  • Health care personnel
  • Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years and older,
  • Household contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them athigher risk of severe complications from influenza.


I know it is sad that summer is in its last remaining few days. The cool moderate weather of fall is arriving, however that does not allow you to enter a food and hibernation coma until the first buds of spring arrive. Enjoy the crisp air and the special autumn warmth of the sun, watching the beautiful autumn colors of the leaves, as they fall from the trees.

This autumn… fall into good habits!
Best health wishes,

Dr. Maria Alice

Consultant in General and Family Medicine

General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service

Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve


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