From runny nose to aching joints, the cold weather brings many ailments with it. Keep your body temperature up if you want to beat them!
Waiting for the first snow of the season may be one of your most favorite things to do. You love it when the white blanket covers everything as far as you can see. It makes you want to stay cooped up at home to enjoy a warm cuppa and wind down. While winter brings up memories of a festive time, it also brings winter storms and sub-zero weather, all of which can be hard on the body.
Here are some health hazards that come with winter and how to stay prepared for them:
Even a two-degree decrease in temperature narrows blood vessels, which can cause heart attacks. When you age, it also becomes harder for the body to regulate temperature making a change in temperature harder to manage. This is why the rate of heart attacks go up in the colder months. You can keep yourself safe by keeping your core body temperature up and taking breaks from outdoor activities. Wear protective clothing like hats, scarves, and gloves, according to Everyday Health.
The lack of sun, short days, and the muted colors of winter can be fraying for some people. "It’s the time of year people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) find most challenging,” psychologist Scott Bea told Cleveland Clinic. SAD shows up during late fall or early winter and goes away by spring or early summer. To beat this mental health condition, try light therapy. It is effective for almost 70% of people who were prescribed it, said Dr. Bea. Treatment involves 30 minutes of exposure to a light that emits 10,000 lux.
The sub-zero weather increases the chances of frostbite and hypothermia, both dangerous situations that be fatal or necessitate amputations. Staying out of the extreme cold outside is one of the best ways to save yourself. If you experience pain and skin discoloration when outside in extreme weather, it could be frostbite. If that's the case, get inside fast and seek out medical help. You can also layer up and keep dry to avoid frostbite, according to ABC News.
Colds and the flu virus are a part and parcel of the winter months. Many people opt for the flu shot to stay healthy when the temperature falls. If you prefer not to get a vaccine, then sanitizing your hands often may be the key. You can boost your immune system with healthy foods and supplements. Since we spend most of our time indoors during the cold months, it is easy to spread to each other as well. You could also cut dairy and sugar since they affect congestion and your ability to fight off viruses, according to Everyday Health.
"Winter tends to bring on more arthritic pains," said orthopedic specialist Dr. Meredith Konya to Cleveland Clinic. "Cold and wet weather, along with changes in barometric pressure, are the most frequent culprits," she said. The way to protect your joints from the weather is by adding layers. Cover your knees and elbows, and stay active during the colder months. Try activities that can be done indoors like walking on a treadmill, aerobics, Zumba, pilates, or indoor swimming.
Not to mention, the festive time between Thanksgiving and New Year's, which might include feasting with loved ones and spending most of our time indoors, can lead to weight gain. It prompts many people to start working out but it is better to seek out the advice of your doctor before you do. Generally, adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise in a week. So staying moderately active during winter months might be enough to offset the comfort eating during the season.