Stay Healthy this Winter Season
How many times have you heard the old saying, “Don’t go outside with wet hair or you’ll catch cold”? Did you ever wonder why that was or if it was even true? Actually, many of those old wives' tales do have some validity and we'll break it down for you so you can stay healthy this winter season while plowing snow and salting the streets.
While frigid, winter air won’t directly make you sick, it does cause you to become more vulnerable because of your body’s response to being so cold. To better understand this, imagine you just were outside in 20 or 30 degree weather for a few hours clearing snow after a storm. After the job is done, you go inside to get a cup of coffee and discuss the day’s work in close quarters with your co-workers. To your luck, one of the guys sneezes and before you know it, you are feeling under the weather. What role did the cold play? When your body is cold, it focuses the majority of its energy into conserving body heat depriving other mechanisms, like your immune system, of necessary fuel. As a result, you are a bit more likely to catch your co-worker’s cold. Therefore, the cold air by itself did not get you sick but when you combine it with spending a lot of time indoors near people, you increase your chances of contracting the virus and spending the day in bed.
But how does wet hair factor into getting you sick? Well, think of how you feel when you get out of the pool in the summer and a breeze hits you. You feel a bit of a chill, right? This is because your body uses some of its heat to evaporate the water off of your skin and evaporation is a cooling process. The same principle applies in the winter. Evaporating water from your wet hair makes you even colder and forces your body to further redirect energy away from your immune system to stay warm. So, the next time you have to salt or plow snow, do your body a favor by putting on a hat or extra sweatshirt to conserve body heat and keep your immune system supplied with enough energy.