Editorial Notebook

Preventing sickness

Staying safe, healthy during colder months

In light of the first snowfall of the season, it seems that winter has officially begun. Here in the Northeast, we can expect only colder temperatures to come and more snow to fall. Some of us find this season to be our favorite, while others would rather soak up sunshine at a beach. Whatever your thoughts are on winter, here are some of the precautions to take to get the most out of the season.

Many people associate the winter season with getting a cold or the flu. In fact, millions of people have some sort of sickness during this season. Therefore, it is important to take preventative measures to avoid getting sick. An important step in preventing the common cold is thoroughly washing your hands. This destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces used by other people, such as light switches and door handles. It may be surprising to learn that heart attacks are more common in the winter. The cold weather increases blood pressure, which puts more strain on your heart. Similarly, your heart has to work harder to keep your body warm. If you have heart troubles, it is advised to keep warm and stay inside when necessary. Since you lose the most body heat from your head, wearing a hat to keep it warm is vital in the winter.

It also may be surprising to learn you are just as much at risk of becoming dehydrated in the winter as you are in the summer. We usually associate the summer season with dehydration. However, the dry air of winter can dehydrate you as well. That’s why it is vital to make sure you are drinking as much water as you would drink in warm weather.

Another precautionary measure to take during the winter season is safety when driving in snowy and icy conditions. Winter weather is a significant cause of many accidents during the winter season. To help prevent accidents, it is important to follow some basic guidelines. When driving, accelerate and decelerate slowly. Accelerating and decelerating like you would do with clear weather can cause a loss in traction with the road. Also, when decelerating, it is important to remember that your car takes a longer time to slow down on an icy road. Going up and down hills can be challenging in icy conditions. To avoid any troubles, try not to stop going up as it will be difficult to regain traction. As a general rule, reducing speed when driving will not only give you more reaction time, but others on the road as well. Taking some of the precautions stated above can help you have a safe and enjoyable winter season.