The 10 winter health myths you've heard all your life -- debunked!
Now that we're entering the harsh winter months, we have a lot working against us: rapidly dropping temperatures, viruses, indoor allergens, and more threats to the safety of our health.
That's why it's so important to find ways to stay strong and healthy this winter.
You can start by going through these brilliant, inexpensive home insulation tips, which will definitely help create a sturdy, comfortable foundation for your home in colder months.
In an exclusive guide below, we go a step beyond and help dispel the most common health myths that we hear in the winter.
From knowing how to keep your skin nice and hydrated, to identifying foods and drinks that will harm you, we unveil the most vital tips for fending off the greatest dangers to your health.
Scroll further to start debunking these winter health myths, and let us know how you'll be staying healthy in the comments below!
Myth #1: You Don't Need Sunscreen
We're used to slapping on the sunscreen during sweltering summer months — but did you know that it's even more crucial to apply it as temperatures drop?
"Because the Earth's surface is closer to the sun during the winter months, we are actually exposed to more harmful rays without even realizing it," said Robert Guida, M.D.
What's even more startling? Snow and ice can reflect more than 80% of UV rays, and therefore damage the skin twice as hard, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Myth #2: Cold Air Can Make You Sick
According to Rachel C. Vreeman, M.D., "Cells that fight infection in the body actually increase if you go out into the cold."
Think of it like this: the more dangers your body comes to face, the harder your internal system will fight for its safety.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cold viruses can grow the fastest when in a temperature of around 91 degrees.
Myth #3: You Lose Body Heat Through Your Head
Decades ago, volunteers went to the Arctic to test this theory. They wore protective gear on the rest of their bodies, but left their heads exposed.
As a result, studies have persisted for years that most of our body's heat escapes through our heads — but this is completely untrue.
"You'll lose heat from any part of your body that is exposed to the elements and not covered with clothing," said Dr. John Sharp, M.D., a professor at Harvard University.
Myth #4: Vitamin C Prevents Colds
We all need at least 75mg of vitamin C every day to maintain a strong immune system.
However, once you're already sick, a glass of orange juice isn't going to immediately help your cold.
Studies show that taking large doses of vitamin C might help shorten the length and reduce the impact of your colds — but there is no guarantee that it will make colds instantly go away.
However, vitamin C may still help those who are exposed to a higher risk of colds, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Myth #5: Allergies Won't Act Up
One in five people suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
It really may depend on what types of allergies you have. Those who suffer from pollen allergies, for example, they may get better in the winter.
However, if you happen to be more sensitive to indoor allergens — like dust mites or pet dander — your reactions will intensify, according to D.J. Verret, M.D.
Myth #6: Drinking Alcohol Makes You Warm
This might come as a great surprise to some people, but drinking alcohol actuallyincreases heat loss in the body.
Research at Harvard Medical School explains that drinking booze will cause the skin's capillaries to constrict — or narrow and shrink — and in effect "turn away" heat.
Your blood vessels will dilate, increasing heat loss across the surface of your skin.
So rather than grab another glass of wine, just bundle up warm instead!
Myth #7: Chicken Soup Will Cure Colds
Many cultures teach us to drink warm liquids — like tea, hot apple cider, and soups — when we're dealing with colds.
It's true that something like chicken soup may help soothe and ease congestion, but much like vitamin C, hot soup won't do any immediate wonders.
However, the emotional comfort brought on by these classic remedies might help ease one's suffering.
Myth #8: You Need More Sleep In Winter
Who doesn't want to stay nice and cozy in bed on a cold winter day?
However, we "technically don't need more sleep," says Dr. Sharp. Most likely, we tend to feel sleepier during winter months because sunlight becomes scarce.
Be careful not to oversleep or overindulge in sleeping — the more you sleep, the sleepier you'll feel during the day.
Myth #9: It's Bad To Shiver
While it certainly is very uncomfortable to feel like you're not warm enough, shivering itself isn't a bad thing.
According to Medical Daily, research has proven that the rapid, rhythmic muscle contractions from shivering will actually help you produce more body heat.
This will help rise your body temperature and, in a funny way, protect you from the cold.
Myth #10: Dry Skin Will Go Away
It's dangerous to assume that dry, flaky skin is just a natural symptom of cold winter temperatures.
According to dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., "dry skin, if not kept at bay, can be a portal for infection."
When not well-hydrated, the skin can crack, become irritated, and prone to infections.
To effectively protect the drier parts of your skin, try scentless, protective moisturizers and healing ointments.
Do you feel more prepared for the cold winter months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and please SHARE!
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