If you live in the northeastern part of the U.S., then you’re used to cold, blustery winters. But no matter how accustomed you may have become, there’s no denying that this winter has been particularly brutal. Precipitation has been heavy and frequent (some areas can expect even more snow tonight), while temperatures have dipped well below zero in some areas, prompting schools across at least four states to close on Monday. Being experienced northeasterners, you have a good idea of how to deal with these conditions. However, you could be at risk for more things than you’ve considered. And it doesn’t hurt to cover all of the bases, so here is a brief list of strategies to counteract the perils of winter.
1. Basics – Keep warm. If you have to go outside, dress in many layers of light clothing rather than a few layers of heavy clothing. Your body will heat the air that is trapped in between each layer of clothing. This will help you to retain warmth. Stay clean by washing your hands often and keep sanitizers handy. And although you may be tempted to indulge with comfort foods, it’s still possible to have warm, hearty meals without compromising a healthy diet. Don’t forget to exercise. Although these four things are obvious, they are still very important in building and/or maintaining a strong immune system.
2. Shoveling – Did you know shoveling can be dangerous to your health? In this month’s American Journal of Emergency Medicine is a study revealing that over 11,000 people are hospitalized each year for accidents related to shoveling. These injuries occurred due to a variety of reasons, including excessive weight lifting and the slippery conditions. To help, you can use a lighter shovel to limit heavy lifting, wear snow boots to avoid falls, and stretch beforehand. It is also important to note that it may not be a good idea to shovel if you have heart problems.
3. Take Care of Your Eyes – Lesley Alderman of the New York Times reports that snow reflects about 80% of sun’s rays, making sunglasses just as necessary during winter as they are during the summer. Make sure that they are protective against ultraviolet rays, as overexposure to such can lead to cancer, cataracts or blindness.
If you have any additional advice on how to keep healthy and safe during the winter, feel free to comment below!