MYTH: Cold air makes me sick
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.
A few reasons we see an uptick in illnesses during the winter months is: we are more likely to stay indoors and in close contact making it easier for germs to jump from one person to the next, and central heating not only dries the air but also our nasal passages. Viruses spread more readily through dry air and when our nose is dry, germs can more readily enter our bodies.
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 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.
MYTH AND TRUTH: Allergies go away in the winter
MYTH: I can skip the sunscreen in the winter
Let’s not forget to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen at a minimal SPF of 30.
MYTH: Dry skin is just an annoyance
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 cracks, 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.
TRUTH: Eating chicken soup helps you fight off that cold
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.
MYTH: Cold temps cause hair loss
Mother nature gave us hair to keep us warm. Thus, it makes sense that we moult depending on the temperature: lose hair during the summer months and hold onto our hair more tightly in the winter. 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 take advantage of the opportunity to snuggle and cuddle with loved ones, roast marshmallows in front of the fireplace, feast with family and loved ones, and make snow angels.
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Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures. She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has
served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists where she serves on committees for Young Physicians and Communications. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.