As we begin to embrace the cold weather, we need to be aware of the ways the drop in temperature and the high wind speeds can affect our health. The fact that winter is a gloomy season means we need to look for ways and means to be merry instead of allowing ourselves to be restrained by the cold. However, even with all efforts to lift the misery and remain positive, we need to remember that winter often makes us vulnerable to severe health complications and even death.
So, what are some of these risks and how we can prevent them from occurring in the first place?
Fluctuating Moods and Depression
This may not be what you may call a clear-cut problem but when observed closely, but feeling down in the dumps is actually a major problem for many of us during winter. Cold weather has a way of making people gloomy, sad, exhausted and withdrawn. Perhaps it is because in general we spend a lot of time indoors, with limited exposure to sun light and feel closed out from the rest of the society. Maybe the dull weather outside affects us psychologically to feel as if all is not well!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as it is called, can make us less mobile, overweight and likely to over-eat starches. During this time, some people fall into depression, feel unworthy and may even resort to suicide. It is important for us to keep an eye out on our loved ones who may be feeling low, anxiety and mild depression is common during winter seasons visiting a counsellor can also help! In addition, maintaining your social networks and exercising outside the house when the weather is favourable will bring back positive feelings that can ward off depression!If you would like to know more about mild seasonal depression you can read more here:http://graceguru.net/how-to-ward-off-winter-blues/
Cold’s and Flu’s
Although you can contract colds or flu at any time of the year, the cold season makes us more vulnerable to these conditions. The viruses that cause these conditions enter the body through the nasal passage. On the other hand, during the cold season, the flow of blood to the nostrils is affected negatively and this means that fewer white blood cells, which fight infection, reach the nasal passage. In addition, cold weather is rich ground for the flu virus because the latter thrives in cold dry air.
Colds and flu have similar symptoms although the latter exhibits more severe symptoms. Generally, we will usually experience a sore throat; have a runny nose; headache or even sneezing. Your nose may also experience blockage while your body may feel lethargic. Expect muscle aches as well as low appetite. Ehh… the joys of feeling under the weather!
To avoid getting colds and flu, ensure you are warm during the cold season! If you are also particularly concerned topping up on flu jabs is a great way to limit your chances of catching a nasty bug! If you are already infected, take a trip to see your local GP so that you get the right kind of medication. For the one week or so when you will be affected, ensure you take warm liquids particularly those with ginger, mint and other flu-fighting elements. (yummy – see our favourite ginger tea recipes here: http://graceguru.net/why-you-should-eat-ginger/
Allergy, Asthma and Pneumonia
Another set of serious problems that can affect many of us during the cold season is an allergy, asthma and even pneumonia. Allergies vary from person to person. However, there are people who develop a cold every time they are exposed to cold conditions, even if it is not winter yet. Similarly, there are people who are affected by the behaviour of plants during the cold season.
Asthma and pneumonia are cold-related illnesses. Most of us have mild forms of these illnesses. Some have inherited these conditions. While the illnesses may lie idle during other seasons, winter creates the right atmosphere for the respective viruses to thrive. This is the time many people suddenly realise that they are asthmatic. It all depends on the level of exposure to severe weather conditions! Hayfever is my worst enemy!
While these conditions may not be cured, it is important to keep off severe cold by all means. Simple things like remembering an umbrella so you are covered by the rain, or a bring a pair of gloves to keep you hands warm can be super beneficial! Remain indoors and warm as long as is necessary. Avoid cold baths and ensure you sleep under warm beddings.
You may wonder what heart attacks have to do with cold weather because you know the conventional causes of this often-fatal condition. What you may not know is that many people suffer from this condition in winter more than the other three seasons. Why is this so? The fact is that your blood pressure is low during the cold season which in turn pressurises your heart. Moreover, because of low temperatures, your heart must work extra hard to pump blood thus making it vulnerable to attacks.
Beware of uncommon chest pains, sudden bouts of dizziness, excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat and nausea among other signs. Always remain warm and use the right medication in the recommended way if you are under treatment. More importantly, ensure your telephone line is working because you may need to contact 911 when the unfortunate happens.
Winter is a time to be very cautious. We need to be aware of inherited and opportunistic illnesses and other complications that we can aggravate or contract during this cold period. More importantly, we need to keep warm, exercise and have positive attitudes to keep of negative health conditions! Although this article has followed a more negative path, it is also important to how amazing the autumn and winter seasons are, if all you need is a little boost for your health visit this page for out top tips: http://graceguru.net/amazing-nutrition-tips-for-a-super-healthy-fall/
Your Grace Guru