How Cold Weather Affects Health Did you know that cold weather can be hard on your health? It can affect your health in a variety of ways, including weight gain, viruses such as cold and flu, frostbite, etc. Learn how to keep warm this winter season.Your body requires extra fuel to keep warm. To get that extra fuel, you tend to eat more. This allows your body to store extra fat to better insulate your body and keep you warm. You can lose weight during the winter months by watching what you eat and staying active. Rather than packing on the pounds to keep warm, try layering clothes to insulate your body temperature. Wear close fitting base layers first, then an insulating mid-layer, and last, a looser fitting wind or waterproof layer such as a jacket. Physical Cold Risks Several physical risks from direct cold include the following:
- Heart attacks increase in the winter because the drop in temperature concentrates your blood at the core of your body, which in turn increases blood pressure and puts more strain on your heart. The cold also makes your body work harder, thus putting stress on your heart to ensure you stay warm. If you have high blood pressure or an existing heart condition, be sure to talk with your doctor due to an increased risk for heart attack.
- Slips and trips increase during the winter months due to wearing worn down shoes or improper shoes on slick surfaces. Try to wear boots or shoes with good tread. Salt your sidewalks and driveways with ice melt salt to prevent slipping and falling when walking out to your car.
- Frostbite and frostnip are also major risks when exposed to cold temperatures. These are caused by lack of blood to a part of the body. Your body will want to concentrate your blood around your core to preserve your heart, lungs, and brain. This leaves your fingers, toes, arms, and legs at risk for frostbite and frostnip. Frostbite or frostnip can cause permanent damage, loss of limb, or in severe cases death.
- Hypothermia is another risk when exposed to direct cold. This happens when you lose body heat faster than your body can make it. Your core body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your core drops to or below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, hypothermia will set in. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, numb extremities, loss of dexterity, and feeling extremely cold. If hypothermia is left untreated, it will lead to complete failure of your heart and lungs, causing death.
Flu vaccinations are a regular topic in healthcare news. With the latest CDC report recommending getting the flu vaccination before flu season approaches, it’s important to know the facts about flu vaccinations and why they are important. Influenza, otherwise known as the flu, is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even lead to death. Every flu season is different and can affect people on different levels, but even healthy people can get very sick from the flu. During what are considered “flu seasons” the virus is circulating at higher levels, which causes many more cases during peak times. The best way to reduce your chance of getting the flu is get get vaccinated. It will keep your chances of getting it much lower, as well as reducing the chances of spreading it to others. The goal with getting the flu vaccination now, rather than during flu season, is to decrease the spread before it arrives in the community. The recommendation is to get it before October at the latest. Contact us today ask additional questions and to schedule your flu shot appointment.
With a change in weather, we tend to see a rise in spring colds. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year and children have even more. Starting with a sore throat, combined with a runny nose are often the first signs of a cold. Then coughing and sneezing. Individuals generally recover in seven to ten days, however people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions may develop serious illness, such as pneumonia. You can take a few simple steps to reduce getting a cold, including:
- Wash your hands! And wash them often. Washing with soap and water for 20 seconds can help you prevent getting sick, and if you are already sick, can prevent the spread of the virus.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands - many times viruses enter the body this way and will make you sick
- Stay away from those around you who are sick. If you have even the slightest decrease if your immune system, being around someone that is sick can increase your chances of getting sick