Is Winter Affecting Your Health and Well-Being?
Burr! It’s been very cold this winter. In addition to causing dangerous driving conditions, expensive heating bills, and freezing water pipes, there are also a number of ways that winter can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health and well-being. Being aware of how winter can impact the health of you and your family and taking steps to protect yourself can lead to a more joyful winter season. Winter can be beautiful and can be a lot of fun. Try picking up a new winter sport or hobby, you might find you enjoy it more than you ever would have thought, but you’ll never know if you never try!
Effects of winter on physical and mental health and well-being:
-- Icy walkways can cause dangerous slips and falls, which the National Safety Council says accounts for almost 9 million injuries each year in the US
-- Cold temperatures, wind chills, and dressing inappropriately can lead to frostbite, which can lead to many complications
-- The cold and flu tend to be more prevalent during the winter season
-- Winter blues – feelings of depression, constant fatigue, increased appetites, loss of ambition
-- Cold, dry air with low humidity can cause dry, rough, cracking skin and dry eyes
-- Drastic weather changes can cause migraines; specific triggers could include storms rolling in, temperatures drastically dropping/raising, and changes in barometric pressure
-- Winter inspires many people to seek out ‘comfort foods’ that tend to be packed full of carbohydrates and calories
-- Winter can cause people to lead a more sedentary lifestyle with less activity and exercise
-- Winter can also pose a more dangerous risk for individuals with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD. Cold air, temperature changes, and changing humidity levels can cause bronchospaspms and shortness of breath, making it difficult to breathe.
Staying conscientious of the impacts weather can have on your health and well-being and dressing for the weather, eating healthy and exercising, practicing proper hand washing hygiene, getting a flu shot, taking vitamin and supplements, using moisturizers and eye drops, running a humidifier, and talking with your doctor about the effects winter is having on your health, are all good techniques that can help you combat winters effects on your health.