- - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

There is a saying: “If the temperature is less than my age, I don’t get out of bed.” That could be a problem as we brace for frigid cold weather… and we celebrate our birthdays yearly. In order to properly prepare for the cold, in all aspects — mentally, emotionally, actuality — let’s debunk some chilly and frosty myths.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: Busting Cold Weather Myths

Cold air makes me sick…MYTH!
Most of us can remember being told to put on a jacket or wear a hat before going out in the cold so we do not get sick. This myth is a tough one to bust. But science has shown that cold weather does not cause us to “catch a cold” by somehow weakening our body’s immune system.

There are a few reasons we see an uptick in illnesses during the winter months. First, we are more likely to stay indoors and in close contact with others making it easier for germs to jump from one person to the next. Second, central heating not only dries the air but also our nasal passages. Viruses are able to spread more readily through the dry air and enter into our bodies when our nose is dry and has microscopic breaks.

I should not exercise in the cold…MYTH!
Let’s not store away our running shoes with our summer wardrobe. Studies have shown that we burn more calories when exercising in the cold because we utilize fuel in order to warm ourselves. Additionally, exercising boosts endorphins—our body’s natural “feel good” molecules—which can help fight off those winter blues.

But before taking a jog let’s make sure that we do a warm up first. I once read that our muscles and joints are like rubber bands. If they sit around unused and in the cold, they are more likely to be tight and constricted and incur an injury; they are more likely to “snap.”

And don’t forget to dress the part, for the cold weather. Layering our clothing can help us peel them off as we get warm, and reapply as needed.

Allergies go away in the winter—MYTH and TRUTH!!
Those who suffer from indoor allergens, may see their symptoms get worse. The cold weather makes it more likely that our pets will stay indoors, that we will shut those windows and not get fresh air, and that certain molds will thrive. However, those who suffer from pollen allergies may see their symptoms improve.

I can skip the sunscreen in the winter—MYTH!
Much like the U.S. Postal Service’s motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat” stop the sun from delivering harmful ultraviolet rays. So let’s not allow the freezing cold fool us. During the winter months, we are closer to the sun and, consequently, are exposed to more harmful rays. Additionally, ice and snow are great at reflecting harmful ultraviolet rays. This means we can get a double dose of exposure (from the sun and then again from the reflection off the ground). Let’s not forget to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen at a minimal SPF of 30.

Dry skin is just an annoyance—MYTH!
When skin becomes dry, it can result in small cracks that serve as passageways for germs to enter the body. To avoid this, experts recommend moisturizing at least twice a day—after showering and before bedtime. Because our hands are more prone to drying and cracking, keep lotion in our bags or at our desks, in the car and next to the soap in the bathroom so we can moisturize throughout the day.

Eating chicken soup helps you fight off that cold—TRUTH!
Chicken soup may not only be good for our soul, but also our colds. However, it is important that we use real chicken broth that has been made from chicken bones because the marrow contains B vitamins, and the bone’s other components contain calcium, magnesium, and zinc. These vitamins and minerals stimulate our immune system, in particular our white blood cells to fight off those pesky germs. Additionally, the warmth of the soup can help reduce sinus and throat pain.

Cold temps cause hair loss—MYTH!
Mother nature gave us hair to keep us warm. Thus, it makes sense that we moult depending on the temperature: hold onto our hair more tightly during the winter months and lose it in the summer. Not convinced? Look at our dogs and cats to see how thick their fur gets in the winter.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather,” shared John Ruskin. So, as temperatures dip, let’s warm our hearts and homes by snuggling and cuddling with loved ones, roasting marshmallows in front of the fireplace, and feasting with family and loved ones.

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