Friday August 01, 2014




Winter myths debunked

Comments

We’ve all heard the old winter standard that if you go out without your hat or with wet hair you will catch a cold.

But does being out in the cold really increase your chances of getting a cold? No, it doesn’t. Colds are caused by viruses. These viruses, in fact, need very warm temperatures to survive, which is probably why, or so it seems, we tend to get more colds in winter when everyone is huddled together indoors. Perhaps going out in the cold is the best thing to help you avoid a cold especially since there is good evidence cold may, in fact, help boost your immune system.

Interestingly, I think this “catch a cold” myth is actually a misinterpretation of what people originally meant. The way I remember it going is “Don’t go our without your coat; you’ll catch your death of cold.”

That, of course, makes sense since going out for too long without proper clothing will ultimately lead to hypothermia.

Another good reason for going out in the cold, you may have been told, is to get that precious sunlight that combats winter depression. Except experts, including Harvard professor John Sharp author of the book Emotional Calendar, say depression is no more pronounced in the winter than other times of year.

But what about those holiday blues? It is true that some people do become anxious or sad around the holidays, but that’s a temporary stress-related reaction, Sharp says.

And apparently there is a very small number of people who suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (itself not lacking controversy), which has symptoms similar to depression, but only occurs during winter months. It’s a clever bit of acronym-making though.

What fascinated me is that Sharp, while debunking the winter-related depression myth, recommended the thoroughly debunked light therapy for people who are feeling kind of down. Then again, as an M.D., he is probably well aware of the placebo effect.

That is probably the best reason for getting out in the cold. Being active is the best cure for what ails you. But don’t forget your hat, because you lose most of your heat from your head. Well, of course you do if your head is the only part of your body that is exposed. If you went out in shorts and a hat, you’d lose most of your heat from your legs.


Comments

Comments


NOTE: To post a comment in the new commenting system you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, OpenID. You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Yorkton This Week welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Quick Vote

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.


Markets





LOG IN



Lost your password?