While many people brace themselves for storms, the cold and winter driving, they should also be thinking about the health risks that winter poses. The first step in avoiding health problems this winter is knowing what these risks are, so that you can take steps to prevent them.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
During the winter months, there is less sunlight because the days are shorter, the sun is lower in the sky and the weather is often overcast. This lack of sunlight causes susceptible people to develop a temporary form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. With the coming of spring, SAD often goes away. The symptoms include lack of energy, oversleeping, sadness, pessimism, difficulty concentrating and feelings of guilt and helplessness.
The occurrence of this disorder increases with higher latitudes. For example, its incidence in Florida is 1.4 percent, while in New Hampshire, 9.7 percent of the population develop it. Seasonal affective disorder can be treated using various forms of light therapy, exercise, taking vitamin D supplements and various other methods.
Every year, the flu leads to hospital visits and deaths throughout the country. The young and the old are particularly vulnerable to health complications arising from the flu. People with heart disease and other cardiovascular problems also have a greater risk of heart attack when they have the flu. This is because the flu causes inflammation of the arteries, which in turn can cause a heart attack.
To avoid getting the flu, get vaccinated, wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your face between washes.
Hypothermia occurs when the temperature of the body drops below 95 degrees. It progressively degrades thinking, judgment and the ability to use one's body. It eventually causes loss of consciousness and death. While the very young and old are most vulnerable, it can strike anyone who finds themselves in conditions of cold for which they are unprepared. A prolonged exposure to a combination of low temperature, high winds and wet conditions will cause hypothermia.
Hypothermia is avoidable by dressing appropriately and limiting your exposure to severe cold. Seeking shelter immediately should be the first priority if you’re caught in severe conditions.
Your health is our priority. Call Advance Insurance at 801-226-1100 for more information on Orem health insurance.