Image of sweater for cold weather

The colder months bring with them a slew of new and not so new health conditions that we need to be aware of. Prevention is always the policy. This time, let’s focus on our largest organ: THE SKIN.

Cold weather means turning on the heat and closing doors and windows. This can cause your skin and mucus membranes to become dry, making you feel congested, and giving you headaches, rashes, and the “winter itch” (dry, flaky, and itchy skin).

Here are some ways to combat these symptoms:

  • Drink more water daily.
  • Moisturize your skin (including your hands and feet) frequently, especially after a bath/shower.
  • Limit your bathing time and use cool water (hot water dries out the skin quicker).
  • Apply moisturizers while your skin is still damp to capture more moisture.
  • Take a cool oatmeal bath (Aveeno or generic brand)every couple of days. The oatmeal coats and soothes your skin, leaving it slippery and silky.
  • Change your clothes often. Some people are sensitive to wool and synthetic materials.
  • Use humidifiers, or if you prefer, place metal baking pans with clean water on your radiators. The water will evaporate and help to increase the humidity in the air in your homes.
  • Check the water level daily, and remember to turn your thermostat down a little.
  • Apply a very small amount of petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, or Bacitracin to the inside of your nostrils with a Q-tip every morning and night to moisturize your mucus membranes.
  • You can also use a saline nasal spray. This will decrease nose bleeds and sinus congestion.
  • Pay attention to proper nutrition. The holiday season can lead to irregular eating and more alcohol.

Take good care of your skin and it will continue to be the first line of defense for your health as well as your individual calling card to the world, especially when showing off your healthy glow.

Dr. Ernest Patti