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Staying Healthy In Cold Weather: Debunking Common Myths

| October 15 2015 | , ,


Autumn is here, and as the cold and flu season begins to take hold in our local schools and places of business, many of us naturally have questions about how to stay healthy.  With wintertime illness myths also running rampant, the team at Premier Aquatics is dedicated to spreading health, facts, and expert swim-related advice.

Cold Weather Doesn’t Cause Colds

The simple truth is that colds are caused by viruses and not temperature.  Realistically, being cozy indoors with heated, recycled air and a room full of people puts you at increased risk of catching cold, as opposed to going outside without a coat.  This is due to the fact that in order to catch a cold, a person must be exposed to a virus, most commonly the rhinovirus.  These viruses are passed from person to person, and can live on surfaces like door knobs, handles, cell phones, and faucets.

Your Wet Head Won’t Make You Sick

The myth that going out with a wet head will make you sick likely goes hand-in-hand with its trusty partner-myth that says more heat escapes from your head than anywhere else on the body.  The truth is that having a wet head does not contribute to a person‚Äôs likelihood of getting a cold.  Temperature escapes from the body equally, so for comfort‚Äôs sake, it‚Äôs important to bundle up in the cooler weather.  It won‚Äôt, however, keep you from getting sick.

You May Be Contagious Even If You Don’t Have A Fever

The myth that you aren‚Äôt contagious if you don‚Äôt have a fever may be one of the biggest reasons the cold and flu viruses spread like wildfire.  Whether you have a fever or not, a person with a cold can remain contagious for 7-10 days after becoming infected, and someone with a flu generally remains contagious for about 5 days after getting sick.  Keep in mind, a person can be contagious even before they are showing real symptoms.  If you‚Äôre sick, it‚Äôs best to stay home.

Swimming During The Winter Doesn’t Cause Ear Infections

Similar to colds, middle ear infections are not caused by cold and wet conditions.  Ear infections are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Typically, ear infections occur when an individual has an infectious cold that causes swelling and restricts the draining of Eustachian Tube fluid from naturally draining through the nose and throat.  Swimmer‚Äôs ear, a more easily treated condition, is an infection of the ear canal that is associated with being in the pool, but this condition is not more likely to happen in the winter.

Keeping Your Children Healthy This Flu Season

While these long-held myths aren’t true, there are many actions parents can take to keep their children healthy throughout the winter season, including:

  • Teaching proper hand washing.
  • Emphasizing the importance of not touching their faces or mouths without clean hands.
  • Explaining proper sneezing and coughing etiquette to avoid the spread of viruses.
  • Encouraging moderate physical activity, such as swim lessons, and healthy eating to boost their immune systems.
  • Disinfecting commonly handled items, including keyboards, cell phones, keys, and toys.

Not only do winter swim lessons not put your child‚Äôs health at risk, keeping your child active through the winter months can have significant benefits on your child‚Äôs health and well-being.  For children who suffer from allergies, being in the pool can help ease the symptoms.  Additionally, playing in the pool can moisturize otherwise dry mucus membranes in the nose and sinuses that are a result of dry, heated indoor air.

At Premier Aquatics, we are dedicated to improving the lives of all our students throughout the year.  Click here to learn more about the Premier Aquatic‚Äôs year-round swim lesson programs.

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