Winter Health Myths

We’ve all heard the Old Wives’ Tales. But what fact truly comes from these myths? In this post I will be a Winter Health Mythbuster, helping you feel good when there is a blizzard outside.
Myth 1:
Feed a cold, starve a fever
FALSE!
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Starvation is never the answer, even when it comes to the flu. A well balanced diet is key to a healthy lifestyle when sick or well. Instead of feigning away from meals, look for foods high in beta carotene and Vitamin C and E. Some of these include spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe and oranges.
For more information on this topic check out WebMD’s article on it:
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/starve-cold-feed-fever

Myth 2:
You will catch a cold from going outside with wet hair
FALSE!
Although you may not be comfortable, only the exposure to viruses will cause you to catch a cold. This means that breathing in air particles sneezed or coughed out by an infected person or touching your face after touching an infected surface can cause the cold, but the weather cannot.
coldhair
For more information on this topic and why antibiotics are ineffective for treating colds read this article from healthyliving.msn:
http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/cold-and-flu/can-heading-outside-in-winter-with-wet-hair-increase-your-chances-of-catching-a-cold-1

Myth 3:
You lose most of your body heat through your head
FALSE!
While wearing a hat in winter is important for keeping warm, it is proven that any exposed body part will release heat. The head is only 10% of the body’s surface area and as such, does not release the majority of heat from the human body. As stated above, colds are caused by viral infections; therefore, forgetting a hat will not cause illness.

Myth 4:
You should not exercise outside in the winter months
FALSE!
As long as you don’t have preexisting health conditions that the cold might worsen, like asthma or heart disease, exercising outside is fine. It can, however, be dangerous to do vigorous exercise without warming up first. It is even important to do warm up exercises before going outside and shoveling. Shoveling can cause strain on the heart so no matter what level of health you are on it may help to take small, frequent breaks and use a small shovel. Also make sure you are dressing in layers and covering your hands and ears.
For more tips on exercising outside check out this article from Mayo Clinic:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/HQ01681

Myth 5:
You don’t need sunscreen in the winter
FALSE!
UV rays are present no matter what season it is. In fact, reflections from snow and ice might make their impact worse than in warmer months. Whether you are on the ski slopes or going for a walk, it is important to wear SPF 30. Just because you don’t feel like your skin is burning doesn’t mean it isn’t being harmed.

As finals week is approaching and germs are being spread faster than you can say ‘mononucleosis,’ I hope my mythbusting helps you stay in tip-top shape. Good luck!

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