5 ways the cold weather is impacting your body

Do you have a constantly runny nose, but no cold?Is your back troubling you more?

RUNNY NOSE

If you’ve got a permanently runny nose but no other symptoms of a cold it’s time to blame the weather. The nose has a mechanism of warming the air which involves increasing the amount of mucus. 

When cold, dry air enters your nostrils it stimulates the nerves in your nose, according to David King, senior lecturer at The University of Queensland. 

These nerves send messages to your brain letting you know that it’s really quite nippy outside and your brain then responds by increasing bloodflow to your nose, which helps warm the passing on its way to your lungs. 

It also makes the nose more moist which is known as “cold air induced rhinitis”or “skiers nose”. Some people are more sensitive than others. 

BAD BACK

When the weather is cold your first response is often to tense or hunch up which is not the best for your back, shoulders or neck. 

This can lead to a negative cycle of stiffness especially if your life style is very sedentary.

One Swedish study has looked at the effect of cold weather on a group of workers. It revealed that the occurrence of back and neck disorders was increased in outdoor workers, and lower among foremen and office workers. 

This was matched by study in Finland showing that cold temperatures increased the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

So remember be preventative, stay active. A brisk walk if well wrapped up, a swim or a cycle safely can substitute the activity that suited you so well in the summer months. 

If you need guidance we at brightwell Physiotherapy have a wealth of experience. Call (01491) 834622. 

Dry, flaky skin

The British Associations of Dermatologists tells us that cold and windy weather can strip the skin of its moisture leading to it becoming dry, chapped and prone to flaking. Dry skin is a common problem in the cold weather which can affect anybody. However certain skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis can worsen during the winter months as the changing temperature and dry air causes flare-ups.

As you’d expect areas of the body that are most often exposed are most at risk. Protect these areas and moisturise frequently.

Painful hands and feet

Some people experience particularly acutely painful hands and feet in cold weather. This could be a sign of Raynaud’s Disease.

This condition is thought to impact 1 in 5 people. Yet this condition is not well known about.

Raynaud’s occurs when small vessels in the extremities of your body, become acutely painful and numb, they change colour ( blue or white)  and when they warm up they become bright red -being over sensitive to cold temperatures.

Blood clots

Our body is constantly trying to stay at its optimum internal temperature 37.5°C. So that it’s cells and organs are well protected from damage. 

Sudden changes in temperature cause thermal stresses for the body, which has to work harder to maintain its constant temperature. 

This type of stress has a profound affect on the viscosity of your blood, making it more likely to become thicker and more sticky and likely to clot.

Clotting can cause general profound health problems for some, it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Public health England recommends in the days of cold weather outside you turn up your heating to at least 18° C.

You should also make sure you move throughout the day so you keep blood flowing and keep wearing warm clothes.

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