Can Staying Warm Keep Your Kids Healthy?
Those are words of wisdom, but can staying warm in the winter really keep you healthy? Since I don’t have any double-blind research studies to give you a definitive answer, let's look at why staying warm on a blustery winter day will stack the odds in your favor. Catching a Cold or a Wind Cold? In Western traditions we speak colloquially of ‘catching a cold’ when we talk about getting sick with any number of viruses that cause the common cold. In Eastern traditions we speak of a ‘wind cold’ meaning the wind is tricky and finds the weak areas of our defenses allowing the cold (or virus) into our body. The most vulnerable part of body is the base of the neck which is the most common entry point of wind and cold. Cold can also make its way into our body through the head, hands, feet and low back areas. Protecting these areas from cold, rainy, windy and snowy weather means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain it’s temperature leaving more resources to protect you from cold. Why is Staying Warm Important? Staying warm & maintaining our body temperature helps our bodies defend against invasion of wind cold or viruses because viruses thrive and replicate faster when our body temperature drops. When the body’s temperature drops even one degree it leaves it more vulnerable to developing a full blown illness. If our temperature drops even further it will cause us to have shiver and our teeth to chatter. When that happens it is almost a guarantee that we’re going to get sick, especially when combined with exposure to other elements such as wind, rain or snow. This makes sense when you look at one of the body’s primary mechanisms for fighting of a virus -- fever. Raising the body temperature even one degree helps the body stop or slow the replication of a virus and simultaneously improves the function of our white blood cells. Keeping Kids Warm Enough Do your kids play outside and refuse to wear a jacket? Their cheeks are red and their hands are freezing, but they say they’re fine. How do you know if your kids are staying warm enough when playing outside in the winter time? A good way to check is to reach into their shirt and check to make sure their chest or back is warm. If this core area is warm then your child should be fine. If not, it’s time to add a jacket or another layer.
Keys to Staying Warm
- Dress in layers, wear a warm coat, scarf & hat when out in the elements
- Long Johns & thermals are totally in when it comes to staying warm
- Protect your neck & wear a scarf in the winter (It’s fashionable too)
- Keep your feet covered & snuggly warm in smart wool socks & fabulous pair of boots (that means leave the flip-flops at home for those of you in California)
- Drink warm hot spicy soup or ginger honey tea to warm back up after being outside
- Take a warm bath if you feel like you can’t warm up despite all the above