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Winter is here and while that means much-awaited relief from the scorching heat and incessant rains, the season comes with its own set of challenges. Winters can be quite harsh in terms of the various ill-effects the weather has on our bodies.
In this article, we have tried to touch upon some of the most common health problems that seniors face in winters along with tips on how to stay healthy.
5 Grave Health Hazards to Look Out for During Winters
You must have noticed that joint pains occur more frequently during the winter season (although there is no conclusive evidence that the weather is a primary cause). Backaches, stiff muscles, knee pain, and other joint pain conditions are quite common during winters.
People with respiratory conditions often complain of aggravated breathing problems in winters. Seniors, especially, are prone to respiratory issues since their immune system weakens over time and makes it difficult for the body to function normally in cold conditions.
Weak immunity means that an influenza outbreak can take a serious toll on your body. It could even result in pneumonia for the elderly. Influenza (or flu) is highly contagious and can result in respiratory complications, too.
Heart Attack / High Blood Pressure
The cold weather increases your blood pressure to an unhealthy level and also exerts extra pressure on the heart. This makes it difficult for the heart to maintain body heat. The high pressure in your arteries decreases the responsiveness of the blood vessels and increased heart rate can set off a series of serious heart conditions (including strokes).
A condition where your body starts losing heat quicker than it can produce heat, hypothermia occurs when the body temperature goes below 35 degree Celsius (or 95-degree Fahrenheit). Prolonged exposure to extremely cold conditions can give rise to hypothermia.
How to Stay Healthy in Winters
Here is a quick guide with tips and precautionary measures to take this winter so you can avoid any of the aforementioned health hazards:
For senior citizens, it is best to stay indoors at least during the coldest hours of the day. Stepping out can expose them to cold winds and people with potentially-contagious diseases.
Make sure you have soft and warm sweaters, jumpers, jackets, quilts and blankets that can help keep seniors warm throughout the day and night. During winters, the heat tends to be concentrated on the body’s core, thus leaving your hands, feet, ears and head vulnerable. Make sure you’ve got it all covered (literally)! Stay dry: Dry the body immediately after showering, avoid wearing sweaty or wet clothes and make sure you do not get drenched in untimely winter rains.
While alcohol consumption may make you feel warm on the inside, it is actually quite risky to have it regularly in winters. Alcohol expands the blood vessels, in turn resulting in abnormally fast loss of heat from the skin’s surface.
Exercise every day:
Ensure that you get at least some amount of mild exercise so that the body’s engine keeps running smoothly. You can choose to indulge in some home exercises or use a bicycle or even play a sport that you love.
Eat foods rich in Vitamin D:
Get yourselves a generous dose of foods that are rich in Vitamin D. You could choose from fruits, grains, milk, seafood, cheese, egg yolk, orange juice, bread, and mushrooms.
Nobody likes falling sick or suffering from weather-related conditions like the ones mentioned above. If you live in a city like Chennai or Mumbai, there isn’t a lot that you would need to worry about (since winters are virtually non-existent there). But people living in cities and towns where winter strikes a massive blow must take extra precautions and care to make sure that the cold climate doesn’t cause any unnecessary and unavoidable circumstances.
We hope these winter health tips for seniors help you to stay warm, safe and healthy this season!
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