Avoid These Four Common Winter Health Problems
The winter months can lead to some seasonal health issues, so when breaking out the coats, scarves, and mittens, make sure to avoid these common problems too.
1. Asthma Attacks
Asthma is one of the most prevalent respiratory illnesses in the United States. A common trigger for an attack is exposure to freezing air temperatures. An effective preventive measure is to cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face warmer. This will minimize the effects of breathing in the dry, cold air when you want to spend time outside.
2. Viral Infection
Cold weather doesn’t directly cause the spread of viruses, however, it does suppress the immune system. Likewise, people are more susceptible to viruses when winter weather causes them to spend more time indoors with minimal circulation and dry heated air. Studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH) have also found that the Flu Virus is able to survive much longer in dry winter weather. When temperatures drop close to or below freezing, the virus structure becomes even more resilient.
3. Weight Gain
Keeping an exercise routine is a struggle for many people. When the temperature drops it becomes even more difficult to exercise regularly. Additionally, holiday foods tend to be indulgent and include sweets. The best ways to counter the winter weight gain is to set a goal to consistently exercise, even in small amounts. Ten to thirty minutes a day of light cardio or some other exercise will go a long way to keeping you healthy through the coldest months.
The “winter blues” is a real condition called seasonal depression, and it can have a serious effect on some people. In fact, the “winter blues” is classified as a milder version of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). On some levels, these mood changes can be attributed to decreased sunlight and daylight hours. However, for some, depression can be triggered by the loss of a loved during the holidays or a lack of social engagement due to weather. To beat the winter blues, make an effort to get natural sunlight during the day, and limit your days spent entirely indoors. Also, be sure that you’re getting the proper amount of sleep—about eight hours for most adults.