How to avoid 10 common winter health issues
Fri, Jan 5, 2018
Winter is in full swing, which means more people are at an increased risk of getting sick.
Colds and the flu aren’t the only health issues seen at this time of year.
Here are tips to avoid 10 common winter health issues:
- Sore throats are usually caused by viral infections. They’re common in the winter because of temperature changes, like going from a warm room to the cold outdoors. Wear a scarf to keep your face covered outside. If you do get a sore throat, gargling with salt water can help with relief.
- Asthma can be triggered by cold air. Be cautious during winter by staying indoors on cold and windy days. If you go out, cover your nose and mouth. Keep inhalers close by.
- Norovirus is known as the winter vomiting bug. It’s most common in the winter and can spread quickly through schools, offices and nursing homes. Wash your hands frequently, disinfect common surfaces and objects, and wash any items, such as clothes and bed sheets, that could have become contaminated.
- Cold sores usually show up when tired or stressed. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking time for relaxing activities. It also helps to keep your lips moisturized.
- Heart attacks are common in winter because the cold weather can increase your blood pressure, putting strain on the heart. To avoid this, stay inside your house, if possible. Keep your main rooms heated, use extra blankets or layers of clothing as needed, and dress warm when you go out.
- Ear infections occur more in the winter than any other season. The changes in climate increase your likelihood of an infection. Avoid exposing yourself to smoke, avoid people who are sick, eat well and get plenty of sleep.
- Dry skin can get worse when it’s cold. Moisturize more than usual, especially after taking a bath or shower. Wear gloves and scarves when outside to cover exposed skin.
- Arthritis can feel worse during the winter, but there isn’t evidence that cold weather makes arthritis worse. If you think your arthritis pain is worse, try increasing your physical activity levels. Immobility can make pain worse.
- Frostbite is caused when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. The skin gets cold, then numb, then hard, and finally pale. Limit your time outdoors if it’s a cold and windy day, dress in several layers and move around to keep blood flowing.
- Colds and the flu are common in the winter. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes, get plenty of sleep, and avoid people who are already sick. Remember to get your flu shot, too.
“It sounds repetitive how to stay healthy and safe during the winter,” says Dr. Bob Zemple, an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. “Each year, we see patients with these health concerns, but they can be avoided. Just remember to get your flu shot, wash your hands, get plenty of rest and avoid people who are sick.”
Dr. Bob Zemple is an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. He sees patients in Green Bay, Two Rivers, and Oshkosh.
About BayCare Clinic
BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With its 100-plus physicians, BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, serving clinical locations in 13 regional communities. Based in Green Bay, Wis., BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center.