Winter! Snow! Sick days? We often hear how we’re more susceptible to illness during the cold season and how we can prevent or cure them, but is there any grain of truth in them? Let’s take a look at some of the more pervasive ones:
1. THE COLD GIVES YOU A COLD
Fact: No. Germs make you sick, not the weather.While there’s no connection between being cold and catching a cold, the air could contribute to conditions that make you sick.
It still isn’t fully understood, but research from the National Institutes of Health suggest that flu viruses become tougher at freezing temperatures and easier to transmit during winter. So stay fit, eat right, and build up your immune system to lessen the chances of catching a bug, regardless of the season.
2. WINTER IS THE SEASON FOR DEPRESSION
Fact: Depression is a condition that’s still not fully understood by scientists, but the drop in temperature isn’t the sole reason for it.
It could be a mix of various factors amplified by the holiday season (friend and family relations, hectic schedules, etc.). Despite this, some people do experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and could benefit from treatments such as light therapy.
3. YOU LOSE MOST OF YOUR BODY HEAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD
Fact: The amount of body heat you lose is proportional to the surface area exposed to low temperatures.
According to a 2006 study (Thermal Effects of Whole Head Submersion in Cold Water on Non-Shivering Humans), you can’t expect your exposed head to make you lose most of your body heat. Still, it’s not a bad idea to wear a hat and cover up.
4. YOU DON’T NEED SUNSCREEN IN WINTER
Fact: Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Even if it’s blocked by clouds, UV rays can still pass through them and affect your skin.UV radiation can even be more dangerous during the winter, since they can be intensified and reflected by the snow, decreasing the effectiveness of a brimmed hat. If you’re going to be out for a while, put on some sunscreen, regardless of the season
5. CHICKEN SOUP CURES COLDS
Fact: Chicken soup can be good for the soul, but is it also good for the body? After reading the previous entries, you might be surprised to know that there is some truth behind the chicken soup myth.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, chicken soup may actually have a positive effect on your immune system and helps in the fight against some respiratory tract infections.