Winter can affect one’s health in myriad ways. It’s important to know these effects so we can better mitigate them.

These are some common examples of how winter weather can affect a person’s health:

  • During the winter, more time is spent indoors in response to the cold. This is not best for the immune system, and the risk of catching disease increases. Being indoors more often can lead to vitamin D deficiency which leads to muscle weakness, greater pain sensitivity, and sleepiness.
  • Cold weather can narrow the blood vessels, which causes the heart to work harder. This raises the risk of heart attacks. The narrowing of blood vessels also can cause headaches.
  • The dry, winter air leaves the skin cracked and parched, which can lead to itchiness and flaky skin.
  • The cooler air lowers body temperature and causes risk for hypothermia. This is especially true in older adults.

Action can be taken to counter the health effects of winter weather such as bundling up and dressing in layers when going outside, moisturizing the skin, and keeping tabs on vitamin D levels. Taking proper care during the cold, sometimes brutal, winter season can ensure both healthiness and happiness.