Dealing With Winter Woes

November 21st, 2008 healthwiki

Dry hands, arid skin, desiccated hair, more asthma and heart attacks, cold and flu- are the woes of winter. Living well in this wintertime needs extra caution as the cold weather ushers annoying health issues. To help combat the pesky wintertime problems, here are some tips and advice on how to keep your body in fit throughout the winter months.

Proper clothing
When outside for an extended period of time, it is important to find the right, and correct, amount of clothing to wear. Again, wear too much and you can sweat too much increasing susceptibility to hypothermia. The clothes that will release heat are ideal. Because if you start to sweat, that can decrease your heat as water is a gateway to lose heat. Also, if your clothes get wet, you can get yourself into trouble. We need to wear clothes that will not stay sopping wet like cotton does.

Protecting our head and neck are also important because a significant amount of heat can be lost if the head, ears and face are not covered.

We have to be especially careful to cover our fingers, nose, ears and toes because they are the most vulnerable to frostbite.

Skin care
Cracking, chaffing, dry patches, and itchiness — all are unpleasant symptoms of dry and irritated skin that often comes with winter. As temperatures drop, the wind howls, and humidity levels hit an all-year low, and our skin requires extra attention and care to stay healthy. To be sure you are effectively treating and protecting your skin during the harsh winter season, the following skin care tips may be helpful:

Create a barrier with moisturisers: When applying lotions and cremes, you are creating a barrier to protect your skin against dryness. This barrier allows time for hydration and healing to occur from the inside. For best results, regularly apply these immediately following a bath or shower, when the skin is still moist.

Take shorter, cooler showers: Despite how soothing a long, hot shower feels when it is chilly outside, the steam and heat can do skin more harm than good by drawing out moisture that is on the skin and causing dryness. Instead, keep the water temperature comfortably warm and take shorter showers.

Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers: Pay special attention when picking your soap, as certain seemingly-mild cleansers actually contain chemicals that strip water from the skin. Generally, products containing preservatives, fragrances, and lye are harsher and more irritating to the skin. Instead, look for products that contain glycerin which maintains moisture.

And here is a tip for your lips — always wears some form of lip gloss or chapstick to wet your lips.

For your hair
Scalp itchiness, static, dry hair — they are common issues for people in this season.

According to experts, hot oil treatment can help a lot in this regard. Depending on how dry your hair and scalp are, you can use them once a week to once a month. It is also recommended not to wash hair as often, as that contributes to dryness.

And to fight static, consider using a more protein-based conditioner, which will be heavier. To help you choose one, consult with the hair specialists or dermatologists.

Winter injuries
Existing conditions can also be affected by the cold weather. It is important for people with asthma or chronic bronchitis to be very careful specially when during physical exertion in the cold. Cold air can be a significant trigger for those with exercise-induced asthma and they need to prepare for that by having their inhaler, as well as a mask or scarf to warm cold air before breathing it in.

We often forget to protect us properly from the increased intensity of sunlight in winter. Application proper sunscreen on a bright, sunny day can save us from getting sunburn. Sunglasses or goggles also help protect the eyes from the glare of the snow.

Water intake
Just because you are not as thirsty or sweating as much does not mean fluid is not being lost. It is a big problem with the cold because when it is hot, you sweat and understand that you need to replace your fluids. You are not sweating as much, but you still are losing fluids the same as if you were exercising in the summer time. Hydrating beforehand with 8 to 10 glasses of fluid helps a lot and you should also be hydrating during activities no matter what your thirst mechanism is telling you.

Beating the winter blues
Cold is around and people are cooped up in home isolating them more and they are more inclined to stay in. The shorter days and colder temperatures may make you feel blue in the winter, a disease called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The disorder affects people of all ages and races, and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. SAD may require medication for some, but for others, a simple change in food may better their mood. Treatments can range from things as simple as taking a walk and opening the blinds during the day something more complex like light therapy and group psychotherapy. Doctors say the easiest thing you can do is be in touch with others, and yourself and your feelings.

Dr Md Rajib Hossain…

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