Tiptastic Tuesday: Top 10 Winter Health Myths

Winter is quickly approaching!  Now is the time when everyone starts to panic about getting sick which means a lot of myths and old wives tales. No need to stress- we’ll teach you what’s fact and what’s fiction.

  1. You can’t catch a cold simply by being outside in cold, chilly weather.  Colds and the flu are caused by bacteria and viruses that spread more easily during the winter months because of close contact from everyone being indoors. If anything, being outside decreases your chances of becoming infected.
  2. People are not more depressed during the winter months than other times of the year.  According to experts, it’s just a myth and wintertime sadness or the “holiday blues” is a temporary, stress related condition that is not a recognized medical ailment.  Some people can also experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which has symptoms similar to depression.  If you believe you have this, consider light therapy or go to a doctor for a proper medical diagnosis.
  3. Your grandmother was right, chicken soup may actually help you fight off infections.   There is some evidence that suggests that hot liquids like tea and soup do have a positive effect on your immune system by bringing white blood cells together to fight off infections.  Hot liquids may also reduce symptoms of the cold and flu such as throat pain.
  4. You do not lose most of the heat from your body through your head.  However, you do lose heat from any body part exposed so it’s a good idea to bundle up during the winter.
  5. You can exercise in the cold!  The most important thing about exercising outside in the winter is warming up first because sudden physical exertion may put you at risk for cardiovascular strain.  Slowly ease into your winter routine. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
  6. You do not need more sleep during the winter. Yes, it get’s darker earlier but you still don’t technically need more sleep in the winter.  If you feel more tired, just try to go to bed earlier.
  7. You do need to wear sunscreen in the winter!  The sun and UV rays are still present in winter.  Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and a UVA/UVB blocker that contains zinc or titanium.
  8. Frostbite can happen to anyone.  No, you do not need to be outside in the cold for hours for it happen. It can happen in as little as 30 minutes. You get it when your skin becomes too cold or too wet (or both).  Make sure bare skin is not exposed for too long.
  9. Dry skin is not harmless.  Dry skin is often times caused by cold and dry air in the winter months. It’s important to keep skin hydrated because dry skin is prone to infections.  Try to moisturize twice daily; it’s especially important to keep your hands moisturized.
  10. You can get allergies in the winter.  Obviously, those who suffer from pollen allergies will be better off in the winter.  But if you’re sensitive to indoor allergens like pet dander and dust mites, your allergies may be worse.

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