Winter…it can be hard on your body

by Michelle on December 11, 2017

As the temperature drops and the landscape becomes stark, the toll that winter weather takes on your body can sometimes cause problems beyond dry skin woes.  Your body experiences changes during cold weather that need special consideration to keep you healthy.  Issues like colds, flu, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and injuries all worsen in colder weather.

As my grandmother used to say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that’s the best advice when it comes to health care in general and winter health care specifically.  It’s easier to prevent problems (when possible) than it is to try and fix a problem afterwards.

Here are some suggestions to mitigate the most common health concerns that winter weather brings:

  1. Skin Care: stay hydrated, avoid using hot water, take shorter showers/baths, moisturize right after washing, use heavier ointments or creams instead of lighter lotions, cover exposed skin when outdoors (to avoid frostbite), avoid rough or “itchy” fabrics, don’t get too close to heat sources, and add moisture to the air with a humidifier; also remember that you do still need to use sunscreen even in the winter.
  2. Cold & Flu: wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, get plenty of sleep, load up on fresh fruits & vegetables, get some exercise, avoid sick people, take your multi-vitamin (maybe add in some extra vitamin c), and stay hydrated; many over-the-counter products can help lessen symptoms and aid in getting much-needed rest.
  3. Arthritis: dress warmly (layer-up, covering sore joints especially), stay hydrated, let warm water help ease pain, increase vitamin D consumption, try
    a joint supplement, increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, try massage and/or acupuncture, and maybe use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (Aceta
    minophen or an NSAID).
  4. Asthma/Breathing Issues: avoid breathing cold air (it dries out airways & increases mucus), don’t sit too close to heat sources, stay hydrated, avoid sick people, remove indoor allergens, prepare for physical activity (warm up, use your inhaler 10-15 minutes before exercise, wear a mask/scarf over your face), and try to control stress.
  5. Allergies: control indoor allergies (vacuum more, change linens often, wash items in hot water, etc.), avoid your known allergens in general, and try the many natural remedies available for relief or take over-the-counted remedies that work to lessen symptoms.
  6. Injuries: warm up before doing any outdoor activity, make sure to have good traction on shoes (and tires) to avoid falls (and sliding accidents), prepare for activities (stretch, wrap injuries, wear a helmet, put on gloves, etc.), and just stay indoors if it’s too treacherous outside.

Staying hydrated and dressing properly in cold weather are two of the most important things you can do to remain healthy.  Eating properly and getting plenty of sleep are also important along with properly preparing to enjoy the outdoors, whether working or recreating.  So avoid the downfalls and problems of the season and enjoy all that this time of year has to offer by incorporating some preparation into your winter plans…then go out and have fun!







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