Brrr! The temperatures are starting to drop, and before we know it, the freezing temperatures of late autumn and winter will be upon us.
Some people adore the cold. Others consider it the bane of their existence. But even though our minds may have differing perceptions of the cold, the cold treats humans as one-in-the-same.
Cold temperatures can have surprising effects on our health. Here are six ways the cold weather can affect your body.
In cold environments, your heart has to work harder to circulate blood around your body and keep you warm. This puts your heart under serious strain. It can lead to an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and even an increased risk of a heart attack.
Do you ever get the shivers when you’re wandering outside in the cold? These fast-paced muscle contractions are your body’s way of generating additional heat to maintain a stable internal temperature.
Dry, Itchy Skin
The cold air can also dry out your skin and make you unbearably itchy. Applying moisturizing balms, creams, or lotions to your skin can help keep it hydrated in cold conditions.
Of course, cold weather isn’t the only thing that can cause dryness and itchiness. If your symptoms persist even on warmer days or despite moisturizing, the cause of your discomfort could be something else.
Did you know that your nose warms up cold air before it reaches your lungs? When you breathe in cold air, your nose produces extra mucus to create humid conditions inside the nasal passage. This makes it easier for it to warm up the air you breathe in. Unfortunately, the enhanced mucus production often results in a runny nose.
But the nose doesn’t always warm up air successfully. Another way the cold weather can affect your body is by making it hard to breathe. If cold, dry air enters your lungs, it can irritate them and lead to coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and various other respiratory problems.
Inflammation and Pain Relief
The cold isn’t all bad! Hanging out in chilly temperatures has the same effect as putting an ice pack on a sore area or injury—it reduces inflammation and pain.