The Primary Healthcare Risks of Wintertime

girl sickWintertime is in full swing and you’re thinking of both the good and the bad things that the wintry season will bring.

The pros of winter include snow days (for some), sledding, skiing, and other fun activities that come with the cold weather. When planned appropriately, the winter can be a time of great joy and fun with your family!

Conversely, the winter can lead to more illnesses and injuries related to the drop in temperature. Diseases and viruses can live longer in colder temperatures and you’re more likely to be indoors with other people who spread diseases around.

Winter should be a time of merriment, fun, and joy without having to suffer through any sneezing. So what are some additional healthcare risks of wintertime to be mindful of? How you can actively prevent diseases and injuries during the winter?

Influenza, the common cold, and viral infections

Wintertime is the peak of flu season. Every year, rates of influenza cases drastically increase during the middle of winter. In addition, other types of viral infections are also likely to infect individuals as more people stay indoors and spread diseases to one another.

To prevent the flu, make sure you get your annual flu shot. A flu shot is the most effective tool in preventing the flu. Other activities that help to reduce the spread of seasonal viruses include regular hand-washing, routine use of hand sanitizer and disinfectant, and thorough cooking of foods and meals.

Make sure you limit your contact with others when sick, or believe someone else has the flu.

Heavy snowfall and snow removal

Snowstorms in the winter can be a time to enjoy a snow day with the kids. But heavy snowfall can lead to health risks if you’re not careful.

Removing heavy snow to clear any walkways or doorways can lead to cardiovascular strain, heart attacks, and even stroke. Heart health is at increased as you shovel snow because the act of shoveling increases blood pressure while the cold air outside constricts blood vessels and oxygen to the heart. These two events work together to cause potentially fatal heart problems.

When removing snow, make sure that you pace yourself and take regular breaks indoors to reduce any heart attack risks. Keep your temperature up and your heart rate stable to safely clear out heavy snow!

Temperature drops and icy walkways

The colder temperatures in winter present several risks to your overall health if you don’t dress and plan appropriately.

Without the proper clothing, temperatures below freezing can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other conditions that lead to permanent heart damage. Always wear an outer layer and an inner layer when going outside in below freezing temperatures. In some extreme cases, it also helps to wear three layers of clothing (inner, middle, outer) to keep your body temperature high.

In addition, icy walkways, roads, and other public areas increase your chances of a painful slip and fall injury. To avoid injury make sure to wear a pair of winter boots that are designed to walk through ice and snow. Always walk carefully when you see ice and be aware of any potential black ice.

Bundle up, wear those boots, and keep your hygiene up to keep as healthy as possible this winter!