Winter weather can be incredibly beautiful with lightly falling snowflakes, sunrises above frozen ponds, and mountains blanketed in feet of snow. But cold weather also leads to certain health risks that people need to be aware of, especially if they plan to spend time outdoors.
Here are some health issues to learn about in the winter and how you can take a natural approach to prevention and treatment.
Frostbite is a skin injury that occurs when the skin and tissues freeze and become damaged. Skin that is exposed to cold and wind is most likely to get frostbite, but you can get it even while your skin is covered up. The first stage of frostbite is called frostnip, which involves numbness, inflammation, and discoloration of the skin – but no long-term damage. At this point, you can warm up your skin and quickly get over frostnip; however, full-blown frostbite requires medical attention to prevent permanent damage.
Common body parts to get frostbite are the fingers, toes, ears, nose, chin, and cheeks. If you think that you have frostbite and while waiting to get medical care, remove wet clothing, get out of the cold as soon as possible, and do not walk on feet with frostbite. Tips for preventing frostbite are to dress in layers, cover up all exposed skin, limit time outdoors in the cold, and keep your body nourished with high-energy foods and plenty of water.
All About Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition that results when the body temperature gets too low, which affects the brain and makes the body use up all its stored energy. Babies, elderly adults, people using alcohol or drugs, hikers, and homeless people are most at risk for hypothermia. The signs of this condition are bright red skin, low energy, shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and drowsiness.
Medical attention is necessary if your body temperature reaches 95 degrees because severe hypothermia leads to unconsciousness and a lack pulse or breathing. For more minor cases of hypothermia or while waiting for help to arrive, skin-to-skin contact or an electric blanket can provide warmth to the center of a person’s body, while warm drinks can help increase body temperature.
Other Cold Weather Risks
In addition to these two very serious conditions, there are also other health issues that become bigger concerns during cold winter months. Many people feel more joint pain in the winter, while slip-and-fall accidents are common on snow and ice. Spending more time indoors makes you more susceptible to the flu and other immune system diseases. Meanwhile, you might be impacted by dry skin, seasonal affective disorder, Raynaud’s disease, and asthma more during the winter months.
To take the best care of your health during this particularly vulnerable time, it’s a smart idea to stock up on homeopathic remedies so that you can be your own “first line of defense” when you start feeling unwell. Whether you spend more time among the risks of the indoors or the outdoors this winter, natural nutritional supplements are also useful to make up for deficiencies in your diet and to fuel yourself with the nutrients your body needs to get through the season.