Most just can’t bear the thought of those long cold dark winter nights, the blistery snowy short daylight, the snow and ice on the roads, needing to dress up in parka like clothing, which all evokes the thoughts of cold, the dreary long winter.
The biggest hazard is that winter will cause extended health issues such as the common cold where the germs will multiply in confined stagnant areas. These wintery conditions especially in the Northern Hemisphere, can extend for months, forcing many to feel enclosed, isolated, and miserable.
For some, winters are enjoyed, the purity of the snow flakes and the abstract outdoor activities which are associated with the change in climate. The majority however, are forced to alter their lifestyles, watch their diet, while becoming hostage to the indoors, this once the subzero temperatures hit.
What we’re forced to do is comply to what mother nature throws our way, alter our living patterns to face and adapt to these seasonal changes, while avoiding the associated health problems.
Beating Those Winter Time Blues
The biggest malady are the Winter time blahs. A condition which precipitates an increase in appetite usually for sweets, which results in weight gain from more calories and less movement.
Other symptoms include mild depression, shorter tempers and irritability, feelings of going stir crazy. These are the conditions which are well identified with those who are living through a long cold severe winter.
During winter, the frequency of food consumption increases. So the biggest battle becomes watching the types of food that are consumed, especially during the holiday season.
Avoid the consumption of junk foods and excessive alcoholic drink, along with too many sweets and fat based foods which can quickly lead to weight gain.
Pamper Your Skin
Another easy victim becomes your skin during the long winter months, as it can’t replenish its moisture naturally, this due to less humidity in air. The low humidity is caused by the artificial indoor heating.
Taking hot showers or baths will exaggerate this condition, as the skin will become dry and irritated, leading to cracking and bleeding. What cracked dry skin does is it loses its ability to protect the body from infection. So moisturizing the skin becomes necessary.
• Avoid taking long hot showers or baths, 3 to 5 minute showers are advised
• Use a good moisturizing body wash which nurtures the skin
• Apply petroleum jelly on all the tough areas of the body such as the elbows, knees, and heels of the foot
• Apply lip balm to prevent the lips from cracking
• Do 30 minute aerobic exercises three to five times a week
• Apply a natural body oil and massage it in
Caring For Your Face
Avoid repeatedly washing your face. Doing so removes all the natural oils from the skin making it dry, wrinkled, and scaly. Always use luke warm water instead of hot.
Always apply moisturizer once you feel dryness, and apply sun screen lotion to all of the exposed areas of body and face, this whenever you go out in the snow and sun.
Preventing Colds During Winter
Consume more well balanced nutritious foods than usual, exercise three to five times a week, and get adequate but not too much sleep. Avoid those who have colds and always wash your hands frequently.
What causes hypothermia is a sudden drop in body temperature, this down to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This can become fatal if not detected and treated properly.
Anyone can become a victim of hypothermia. The elderly are especially at risk since their bodies can’t adjust to the changes in temperature as quickly as it should.
Those affected by hypothermia will show symptoms such as drowsiness, shivering, a weak pulse, slow heart beat, slurred speech, and shallow breathing. If the body temperature happens to fall below 86F, a coma will result.
Immediate medical attention is required once these symptoms are recognized. Avoid a hot bath or alcoholic beverages. What’s advised is warm water and warm ventilated clothing.
The exposed areas of body such as the face, hands, and feet, can be easily exposed and affected by frost bite. The affected area of the skin will become white, stiff, and numb.
Wrap the affected area gradually with warm clothes and seek medical attention immediately if severe. Never rub the affected areas since doing so may damage the underlying tissues.
General Precautions For Winter
Always wear clothing in layers, this so you can adjust the warmth or coldness based on the changing weather conditions. Avoid overdressing or sudden overexertion which can lead to cold/heat related illnesses.
Most of the body heat is lost through the exposed areas such as your head and hands, so always wear a hat and gloves, preferably one which covers your ears. Wearing mittens instead of gloves will also provide more warmth to your hands.
Always wear waterproof insulated boots with good tread, this to avoid getting hypothermia or frostbite, while keeping your feet dry and warm. A good pair of boots will also maintain proper footing in the slippery ice and snow, preventing falls.
Immediately get out of your wet clothing and then warm up the core body temperature with a blanket. Drink warm fluids such as a hot cider, tea, or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you suspect you or someone has hypothermia or frostbite.
Make sure that you recognize the symptoms of hypothermia which is a serious medical condition. The most obvious being dizziness, confusion, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Seek immediate ER medical attention.
You can recognize frostbite by gray, yellow, or white skin discoloration, along with waxy feeling numb skin. Also seek medical attention immediately.