Weathering the winter woes: Four tips to a healthier season
Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 3:10 PM - Winter is right around the corner with temperatures quickly dropping all across Canada; and with the cold season come plenty of health risks.
Here are some of the common seasonal afflictions related to winter.
1. FIGHTING THE FLU
During the colder months there always seems to be a sharp increase in respiratory diseases such as the common cold and the flu. While there are many different explanations and theories as to why these things are related, the prevalent reason seems to be that cold weather forces people to seek shelter and in doing so, puts them in close proximity to each other. This allows for 'droplet infection' to spread to a nearby person that breathes in the infected droplet. A similar pattern of infection is observed in Equatorial countries during their rainy months.
While most people that get the common cold are in for a week of discomfort, the flu can sometimes have deadly consequences. But what can you do to fight off the flu?
The most obvious answer is to get your flu shot in a timely fashion, but that's not always a guarantee. Other suggestions include washing your hands and using hand sanitizer after touching areas that are highly concentrated in germs (door handles, elevator buttons, public transport). Also make sure to eat healthy and work out. Fresh fruit and a vigorous workout can boost your immune system.
2. NO MORE NOSEBLEEDS
The dry air that comes with the season often causes nosebleeds in many susceptible people. One way to avoid this problem is to use a humidifier in your home or office. Make sure to clean it properly, as well. A simpler solution is to apply petroleum jelly which helps the nose hold onto it's "escaping" moisture. Nasal sprays are also great help for those prone to nosebleeds.
First nose bleed of the winter season. I got your number sinuses pic.twitter.com/d4Fa6iUFRL— Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell80) November 24, 2013
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3. ILLUMINATE AWAY THE SAD
It happens every year—winter arrives and many suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The answer lies in a protein called SERT. SERT or the serotonin transporter is the protein responsible of "ending" the effect of serotonin—thought to be a contributor to feeling happy—and recycles it so it can be used again by the body. In people prone to the "winter blues," the serotonin transporters are highly active during the winter nights, decreasing serotonin levels. One of the possible treatments is light therapy. Medication and counselling can also help. Make sure to also exercise, sleep well and reach out to family and friends if you're feeling the effects.
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4. DON'T LET DRY SKIN TAKE OVER
The content of moisture in the cold winter air is so low that it needs to steal moisture from different sources. One of those sources? Your skin. But what can you do to keep your skin looking healthy during the long winter seasons? Try shorter, cooler showers. Hot showers strip the skin of its natural oil, which acts like a safety net between your natural moisture and the cold air around it. Moisturizing soaps and enzyme peels are also common suggestions among experts.