Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Amidst plummeting temperatures, frosty mornings and the cold and flu season, it seems that we are more apprehensive about our chances of catching a cold in the winter chill than any other time of the year. However, do we really need to worry about our increased chances of catching a cold this winter? We reveal the truth behind frequent winter health myths that are mentioned each year:
Myth 1: You should not exercise in the winter weather
It may be extremely tempting to stay indoors, wrapped up under your comforter however it’s time to blow the dust off your trainers and brave the outdoors. There is no need to worry that exercising in the cold weather is bad for your health, as it is fine to exercise in the cold. However, with winter workouts you should make sure to warm up first, as sudden exposure to freezing temperatures can put an added strain on the body.
Myth 2: We need more time to hibernate in the winter
When the darker nights draw in and the days stretch out in grey and dusky light, the thought of hibernation sounds tempting. However, you should try to combat the urge to snooze. We do not need more sleep in the winter season, it is the lack of sunlight that makes us believe we are tired.
Myth 3: Frosty temperatures cause hair loss
A common misconception, colder temperatures can cause increased levels of hair loss. However, cooler weather may in fact decrease hair loss as researchers have found that most hair is lost in the summer and the least in the winter. This may be due to evolution, as we may hold on to our hair as a method of warmth during the cooler seasons.
Myth 4: You can catch a cold from standing outside in the icy elements
It is commonly thought that lowering temperatures alone can cause illness. However, despite being labelled the common ‘cold’, chilly weather alone cannot make you catch a cold. In fact, the body’s defense system boosts itself, as cells that fight off infection increase as you step outside into the cold outdoors. This is your body’s attempt at fighting off the stress of cooler temperatures.
Myth 5: Winter blues increase depression
It is often thought that in the winter months more people are depressed. It would seem likely that dreary weather would have a correlation with spikes in depression. However, contrary to this common myth it is thought that depression is no more present than at any other time of the year. Although it is thought that cases of depression do not increase during winter, some people may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can cause similar features to depression, such as insomnia and low concentration. SAD will only occur during the winter months.
Myth 6: Sunscreen is not needed in the winter months
It’s cold, grey and dull outside, so you won’t need sunscreen, will you? Wrong. UV rays are present throughout the year. Although we can’t see the sunshine the Earth’s surface is in fact closer to the sun during the winter months. So, even in winter months you should make sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
Myth 7: Allergies don’t affect you in the winter
It is a common thought that in the winter allergy sufferers are not affected. If you suffer from pollen allergies they will be better in the winter, however if you are sensitive to common indoor allergens, such as dust and pet hair you allergies may become worse during the winter season.
Myth 8: You lose most of your body heat through your head
One of the most common winter worries, the statement that we lose most of our body heat from our head is largely a myth. Although we lose heat from any body part that is exposed to the elements and not covered with clothing, such as a hat, leaving your head uncovered is not a major health risk.
With these top 8 winter health myths resolved, you’ll be able to put your mind at ease and keep yourself and your family fit and healthy over winter. For further information about winter health, medication and influenza treatment, please click here.