Melting Away Winter Health Myths

A Healthier Michigan

| 2 min read

Friends having a snowball fight
There are plenty of seemingly well-known facts that can make you want to give winter the cold shoulder. You’ve probably heard about the various phenomena in winter that can cause illness or other health problems and accepted them as fact. In reality, a lot of the common “facts” about winter are more fiction than truth.
Here, we bust some mythical talking points about winter and lay out some of the lesser-known facts:
Cold weather makes you sick: MYTH
While the incidences of colds do rise in the winter months, the weather is not to blame. Experts believe the rise is due to the increase in time spent indoors, resulting in germ exchanges.
Going outside with wet hair can cause a cold: MYTH
Wet hair might cause you to be cold while you’re outside and while you’re warming up after, but the only thing that causes a cold is bacteria.
Sunscreen isn’t necessary in the winter: MYTH
Sunscreen is needed year-round. Not only does it protect against sunburn, but it keeps your skin healthy by blocking UV rays. Even though you may not be tanning in the winter, you are still subjected to the negative impacts of being in the sun.
The weather affects your mood: FACT
You may notice that people seem happier in the summer. This is because the instances of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) rise in the winter. The lack of sunlight contributes to this condition.
Washing your hands can prevent illness: FACT
Most viruses are spread by germs that have been transmitted to hands. Simply washing your hands effectively can dramatically reduce the risk of illness.
You can get the flu from the flu shot: MYTH
The flu vaccine does not contain any live viruses and therefore can’t cause the flu. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine as the body develops an immune response to it. The symptoms, while undesirable, are not the flu and are far less severe than those of the flu.
You can still get allergies in the winter: FACT
While we may not notice allergies in these months, allergies can be present all year. The cause of allergies changes with the seasons. While spring allergies may be pollen-related, winter allergies might be due to indoor allergens lurking in the air.
There’s no need to be frozen with fear, just make sure you’re keeping yourself safe year-round.
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Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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