DEBUNKING BELIEFS

Myths about staying warm this cold season

In Summary

• A Havard research showed there isn’t anything different about your head regarding the preservation of body heat.

• Drinking hot tea only keeps you warm for a few seconds .

Keeping warm, cuddling doesn’t prevent you from catching viruses.
Keeping warm, cuddling doesn’t prevent you from catching viruses.
Image: COURTESY

Everyone has tips on how to keep warm during this freezing weather. But are they myths or reality?

Here are five common myths of staying warm this cold season.

1. Staying indoors, cuddling will prevent catching a cold

While there is evidence that warmer body temperatures can prevent the internal spread of viruses, keeping warm, cuddling doesn’t prevent you from catching viruses in the first place. The increase in the occurrence of cold viruses during cold season can be attributed to people staying indoors in close proximity or the lower humidity levels, which can dry nasal passages and allow viruses to enter your body.

2. Drinking alcohol warms you up.

Research done by Havard students in 2019 says It is true that if you drink an alcoholic drink when you’re cold you will feel as though you’re getting warmer and you’ll look as if you are.

“The alcohol sends blood towards the surface of the skin, making you flush. If you touch your face it will feel hotter. “

However, researchers say, the blood has moved away from the main parts of your body, so in fact, your core temperature drops.

And if you’re staying out in the cold the effect of blood moving to the skin is not enough to keep you warm for long.

A patron with a glass of alcohol on display.
A patron with a glass of alcohol on display.
Image: FILE

“If you drink a lot and then go back out into the cold, you could put yourself at risk, “researchers say.

The alcohol they say can reduce the body’s natural shivering response and dampen your perception of cold.

Combine this with the impaired judgment that of course goes with being drunk, and you can see why people sometimes end up in dangerous situations.

“We’ve all seen the stories of people who fall into rainy  ditches on their way home from a bar in the freezing cold.”

3. Drinking hot drinks warms you up

This will work just for a few seconds. A cup of hot chocolate creates a fleeting feeling of warmth in your hands and stomach but not a change in your internal temperature.

Maintaining stable body temperature is essential to having healthy organ function and a steady heartbeat, says Michael Cirigliano, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. So why does a steaming mug of cocoa make you feel so warm?

“You feel warmer because you think the drink is supposed to warm you.” It’s all in your head, literally: “Your mouth is among the most sensitive parts of your body,” says Jeremy Smith, an internist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital, in Madison, and the hot liquid in that sensitive area gives you the impression that you’re heating up

4. Always wear a hat because you lose the most heat from your head

For adults, research by the Havard students shows there isn’t anything different about your head regarding the preservation of body heat.

“You lose body heat from any part of the body that is exposed to chilled temperatures.”

Experts say other body parts should also be covered to keep you from getting too cold.
Experts say other body parts should also be covered to keep you from getting too cold.
Image: FILE

Although it is a good idea to keep your head covered under a warm hat, experts say other body parts should also be covered to keep you from getting too cold.

The amount of heat escaping from your head depends on various factors, including hair thickness.

 However, research says that children, lose more heat through their heads.

“The surface area of a child’s head relative to the child’s body is much greater than that of an adult.’

Hoods and hats are more important for children to wear during cold weather for this reason.

5. Dress in layers to keep warm.

Although dressing in layers is practical, one warm, well-made garment will serve you just as well.

Depending on the temperature, dressing in layers makes sense in order to adjust for different levels of activity throughout the day.

It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes in below-freezing temperatures to develop hypothermia if you are not wearing proper coverage, are in wet clothing, or have exposed skin.

It is important to take the appropriate steps to stay warm, paying special attention to those areas that are often left exposed, like your head, nose, neck, and ears.