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7 Winter Health Myths Kaput

Winters bring along dreary and lazy days, increased appetite, bonfire, roasted peanuts, cosy comforters, layers of woolens and tons of myths. Most enlightened of us are caught in the grips of winter health myths. Let’s bust 7 of them here.

Mind Body By Ariba Khaliq / Dec 09, 2014

Winter Myths are History’s Urban Folk Tale

Some believe in winter myths and some do not. The most frequent problem is that winter health myths don’t just give you feelings of happiness, they can bring fat, stuff up your nose, and even increase your risk of cancer. Our health experts want to help people stop worrying about stuff that doesn’t really matter so everyone can focus on things that do keep them and their family healthy through the season. Just hit the slopes and don’t let these winter health myths get the best of you.

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Myth:Cold Air can make you Ill.

Though it is called the common "cold," lower temperatures alone aren’t powerful enough to make you sick. In fact, the exact opposite is true. When you go out into the cold, infection-fighting cells actually increase in your body. It's your body's way of combating the stress of freezing temperature. Also, cold viruses grow best at about 91 degrees; if you're outside in the cold, your nostrils are surely colder than that, says the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Myth:You Shouldn't Workout in the Cold.

Get ready to come out from under your blanket and run into the cold (and great) outdoors. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise published a research which said, in cold temperatures, race times are actually faster and quicker paces burn more calories in less time. Plus, your endorphin levels will be spiked by this harder, faster workout, which, according to a review in Environmental Science and Technology, are already increased just by you being outside. You should be ready by now to get started.

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Myth:Allergies don’t Exist during Winters.

If you thought the cold killed all the allergies, you will be shocked to learn that allergies might be the real source behind your stuffy nose and scratchy throat this season. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that one in five people suffer from indoor/outdoor allergies, and the indoor variety can actually be worse in the winter. It’s because pets spend much time indoors, closed windows seal in poor air quality, and many kinds of moulds flourish in the winter. If your symptoms of cold and flu last longer than 10 days or ease up after taking an antihistamine, it might be time to visit an allergist.

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Myth:Sunscreens aren’t needed in the winter.

Just because you won’t be wearing bathing suits, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be buying sunscreen. Because the Earth's surface is closer to the sun during the winter months, we are actually exposed to more harmful rays without even realizing it, warn experts. That’s not all, snow and ice can both reflect up to 80% of harmful UV rays so that they can hit the skin twice, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Don’t forget to pick up an SPF 30+ on your next visit to the cosmetic store.

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Myth:Drinking alcohol keeps you warm.

Sure after drinking alcohol, you feel a bit toasty on the inside, but that's only because it causes your blood to rush toward your rosy-red skin and away from your internal organs. That means your core body temperature actually drops post-sip. There’s more, alcohol actually impairs your body's ability to shiver and create extra heat.

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Myth:Most of your body heat is lost through the head.

A 1950s Army study found that most of your body heat doesn't escape through your noggin. But that’s not true. In the now-infamous study, volunteers visited the Arctic with their heads exposed. However, the rest of them was outfitted in gear designed to protect against the cold, so it's logical that they lost most of their body heat from their heads. If you go outside without gloves, you'll lose a disproportionate amount of heat through your hands.

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Myth:Women gain up to 5 kgs over the Winter course.

While putting on weight in winters is easy, all thanks to comfort foods, dark days, and cosy blankets, but it turns out that the average woman only gains only half or one kg over the winter. Still, one Nutrition Reviews study shows that weight gain during the six-week holiday season accounts for 51% of annual weight gain. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine published a review which said that most women don't lose that extra layer of insulation come springtime, so over the years, the weight can really add up.

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