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If we catch a cold, put a few pounds, or have certain skin problems and infections, we blame winter. However, is it truly about winter and cold weather?
Winter brings many joys and excitement, but it also makes you rethink some old, stubborn seasonal myths. Winter isn‘t as bad as we think, and above all, many of the things we blame winter for, have nothing to do with cold weather.
Are you aware of these cold-weather misconceptions?
#1 Myth: Sunscreen isn’t necessary for the winter
Lack of sunshine doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen. In fact, the earth is closer to the sun during winter months; thus we are more exposed to harmful rays, even if we think we are not.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, snow and ice can reflect up to 80% of the harmful UV rays, which means they can hit the skin twice.
Skiing and snowboarding trips hold a significant risk of being exposed to harmful rays and severe skin damage can be easily caused by snow and ice. Even more, sudden skin exposure has a huge impact on your skin, causing sunburns and long-term skin damage.
To protect your skin, you need to know what to do. First, include food that gives you beneficial vitamins and minerals to protect the skin and maintain its health. Second, learn how to protect your skin naturally.
Dry and itchy skin is a common problem and can contribute to more severe issues; damaged skin can be easily infected. You should avoid hot showers, which strip natural oils from your skin. Use moisturizer after you get out of the shower. Moreover, read about the benefits of a cold shower.
#2 Myth: Cold temperature causes hair loss
Numerous reasons cause hair loss, but the cold temperature isn’t one of the causes.
Cold weather might, in fact, help you maintain healthy hair. In one research, which is conducted at University Hospital in Zurich, researchers followed 823 women for six years and concluded that they lost the most hair in the summer and the least during cold months.
Stress is very often the culprit, and hair problems are hereditary for many people. Other things, such as iron deficiency, thyroid disease, and other hair conditions cause hair loss.
Above all, bad hair hygiene and cosmetic as well as dyeing, bleaching, and combing are contributing to hair loss a lot.
#3 Myth: Allergies go away during cold months
Viruses cause colds and flu around all year. However, some flu viruses spread more widely in winter (perhaps because droplets of flu viruses survive more in dry air), although scientists do not fully understand why.
Allergies don’t go away in winter; they might be the cause of your scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Moreover, as Asthma and Allergy Foundation concluded, one in five people suffer from either indoor or outdoor allergies, with indoor allergies being worse in the winter.
Poor air quality, shut windows, molds, dust, animal dander and many other things are very often the causes of allergies. Even more, with winter allergies, you are more likely to have sinus symptoms.
What can you do? Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Let the fresh winter air in. Stay away from others when you are sick and stay clear of others when they are sick, as well.
If your symptoms don’t go away and last longer than 10 days, visit an allergist or go to a doctor. Finally, eat the food that will help you keep your immune system strong.
#4 Myth: Vitamin C prevents colds
Studies confirmed that vitamin C might help shorten the lengths of cold and reduce the severity of a cold. Many vitamins and minerals are needed to maintain a strong immune system.
The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is 75 mg, according to a study from the University of Helsinki.
#5 Myth: You gain weight because of cold weather
Bad eating habits and imbalanced energy cause weight gain. We tend to change our habits during cold months, avoiding exercising, and spending much time indoors. Winter is not the culprit for weight gain, but due to our habits, it can help us gain a few pounds. Think about comfort food, holidays, overindulging and less physical activity.
An average woman only gains one or two pounds in the winter, as it seems, but weight gain during cold months accounts for 51% of annual weight gain, according to one study published in Nutrition Reviews.
#6 Myth: We shouldn’t exercise in the cold
We use this excuse often to make ourselves feel better. There is not a single reason one shouldn’t exercise in the cold.
Cold weather workouts decrease tension, depression and frustration, according to one study published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Our body burns more calories because cold air, increases the amount of energy to keep the body temperature.
Spending time on natural light during outdoor exercising helps fight the seasonal affective disorder. Moreover, in the cold, our body produces more endorphins, which makes us happier and relaxed, because it’s working harder.
Are you ready? See what you need to know about outdoor exercising.
#7 Myth: Alcohol will warm you up
Although many are aware of this myth, it’s good to be reminded: alcohol doesn’t increase your body temperature. It makes you feel warm, by causing your blood to rush toward your skin and internal organs, but your body temperature drops as alcohol enables your body to create extra heat.
The heat and warm feelings are only temperamental and it’s very dangerous because it decreases core body temperature and raises hypothermia risk. Be careful when drinking any alcoholic beverage.
Rethink your habits, enjoy the winter as much as you can, and, most importantly, don’t let these common misconceptions get the best of you.
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