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Published on December 16, 2014

Busting 4 Winter Health Myths

December 16, 2014

little girl hiding under hat and glovesCertain myths persist about how to stay healthy during wintertime. How savvy are you?

Myth 1: Cold air automatically equals illness. Scared to go outdoors because you’re afraid to catch a cold? The brisk outdoor air could actually protect you from getting sick! The germs that cause the cold virus are more likely to live in warmer environments, such as your home. Exercising in the cold can boost endorphin production, which can combat stressful or sad feelings. Find more reasons to head outdoors, including a quick walk around the block or completing outdoor chores. Your immune system will thank you.

Myth 2: Chicken soup can’t cure the common cold. Remember how much better you felt after you had a bowl of chicken soup when you had the sniffles? New research suggests that chicken broth can help white blood cells move more quickly through the body, fighting inflammation. Next time you feel a cold coming on, warm up a can of chicken soup, or make your own, including garlic, which can provide antibacterial protection.

Myth 3: You should always drink warm fluids when you’re sick. A warm drink can help perk you up when you’re feeling under the weather, but it doesn’t have to be warm to have the most powerful effect. Staying hydrated can help you recover from a cold, but what you drink can be any temperature. Just stay away from coffees, colas and caffeinated teas, which can contribute to dehydration.

Myth 4: Allergies only occur in the spring. Allergens are often in our home environments year-round. Dust and pet dander may build up during the holidays when things are busier, triggering allergic reactions. Be sure to change your heating and air filters during the winter and take an antihistamine daily to keep allergy symptoms in check.

Winter Safety 101

Ready to enjoy all that winter weather has to offer? Here’s how to stay safe.

  • Dress the part. Wear light, warm layers to keep comfortable outdoors. Wear non-skid shoes and slather sunscreen on any exposed areas of skin, such as your face and ears, to protect against ultraviolet rays.
  • Take your time. Inclement weather can cause icy patches and slick spots. Whether on foot or in the car, plan for extra travel time and don’t rush. Always hold handrails when climbing stairs.

Sources: acaai.orgmayoclinic.org

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