As the winter season makes its entry, many changes occur in our bodies in response to the sudden drop in temperatures. These changes can affect a person’s physical, mental health, and well-being and may worsen the symptoms of existing disorders. Let’s understand how falling temperatures can affect our bodies and how we can combat these conditions.
Flu & Colds
During winter, flu spreads due to lifestyle factors, like spending more time indoors and a lack of vitamin D, but studies have shown that the virus is more stable when the air is cold and dry. Unlike cold viruses, flu viruses spread through the air, and they’re able to stay in the air longer in winter-like conditions.
Remedy: Make sure you get enough rest and regular exercise, stay hydrated, and eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet. If you’re healthy enough to get it, the flu shot can also help.To prevent colds, wash your hands regularly.
More common in winter, they are almost always caused by viral infections. There’s some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.
Remedy: One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water. It won’t heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect.
Dry skin is a common condition and is often worse during the winter when environmental humidity is low. Dry skin can lead to serious cracks that are not only painful but can even lead to infection if they’re not properly cared for. Our hands are often hit the hardest because we use them so often. They’re also most likely to be exposed to water and cold weather.
Remedy: Moisturising is essential during winter. Contrary to popular belief, moisturizing lotions and creams aren’t absorbed by the skin. Instead, they act as a sealant to stop the skin’s natural moisture evaporating away.
The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower while your skin is still moist, and again at bedtime. Have warm, rather than hot, showers. Water that is too hot makes skin feel more dry and itchy.
Changes in temperature and barometric pressure can trigger joint pain, especially amongst elderly people.
Remedy: Dressing warmly during winter is extremely important if you suffer from joint pain. Always be sure to pay special attention to your head, hands, and feet, since the majority of body heat is lost from the extremities. It’s also important to keep up with regular exercise during the winter months since a lack of physical activity can cause joints to stiffen.
Cold, dry air can trigger asthma attacks, which is why winter can be a brutal time if you have difficulty breathing.
Remedy: Stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If you do go out, wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth. Be extra vigilant about taking your regular medications, and keep reliever inhalers close by.
Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it’s cold.
Remedy: Stay warm in your home. Heat the main rooms you use and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed.
Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.