The first day of fall did not disappoint — cooler temps have arrived along with the changing color of leaves. But do you know how cooler weather can affect your overall health?
Consider these three things when the weather gets cold:
- An increase in blood pressure. When the outdoor temperature drops, blood vessels tend to constrict in an effort to conserve body heat. That can make blood pressure increase a bit. If you’re healthy you might say, ‘no big deal.’ But, if you have hypertension, it might be something to monitor.
A 2015 study found up to a 31 percent increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year compared with the warmest.*
That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid sudden strenuous activities, like snow shoveling, if you have high blood pressure.
- You get thirstier — and so does your skin! Dry skin, “alligator legs,” and cracked lips are not just from dry heat.
It’s common to drink more water in the summer months when you feel the heat. But did you know you’re more likely to get dehydrated in the colder months? That’s because people tend to drink more hot coffee and tea (diuretics), which contribute to dry skin. So, make sure you keep up your water intake in the colder months.
- Dry air can make a cold or flu feel worse. That’s because dry air can worsen symptoms if you get a cold or the flu. Nasal passages tend to plug up more easily in winter months. When there is a lot more mucous, they can get irritated, especially in the back of your throat (post-nasal drip) and dry air only makes it feel worse.
Using a room humidifier can help add moisture back into the air. Make sure it is cleaned regularly.
Read more: Is it a cold or the flu?
Source: Seasonal Variations of Complete Blood Count and Inflammatory Biomarkers in the US Population – Analysis of NHANES Data Published November 6, 2015