WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) When the temperatures drop to the point of danger and you're wondering how to keep your family safe, you'll want to be wary of some old myths about cold weather that are just not true.
Myth: COLD WEATHER MAKES YOU SICK
Doctors say cold weather does not make you sick. If you don't wear a coat outside, you aren't making a good choice but it won't leave you coughing or sneezing. During the cold, winter months, people are more likely to be inside in confined spaces with other people causing germs to spread. That is likely the reason you're coughing or sneezing this time of the year.
Myth: DRINKING ALCOHOL WARMS YOU UP
While drinking alcohol may make a person feel warmer, doctors say it actually lowers your body's core temperature. When you have alcohol in your system, doctors say your blood vessels come to the surface which makes a person feel warm or flushed. However, that causes the body to lose heat and those who drink have a greater risk of hypothermia if they venture out into the cold.
Myth: YOU CANNOT EXERCISE OUTSIDE IN THE COLD
Exercising out in the cold is not bad for you if you dress correctly. Doctors say you don't want to dress too warmly because evaporating sweat can make you too cold. Doctors at Via Christi say the best way to dress is in layers avoiding cotton. They say to cover your head and protect your hands while you run and to keep hydrated too.
Myth: YOU DO NOT NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN IN THE WINTER
The ultraviolet rays from the sun are around all year long and can harm your skin regardless of the season. Doctors say if you are planning to be outside, you should always wear sunscreen. The bright, white snow can reflect the rays even more onto your skin which is likely why you've seen people come back from ski trips with a sunburn.
Myth: YOU LOSE MOST OF YOUR HEAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD
Doctors say people lose most of their heat through whichever part of their body is exposed to the elements. That could be your hands or your feet. While you should wear a hat to stay warm in the cold, that doesn't mean you should forego gloves or warm shoes. While people will lose heat from their head, it does not account for a large percentage of heat loss compared to other body parts.
Doctors at Via Christi want to remind you though that babies do lose a lot of heat from their heads. Doctors say babies have thinner skulls and there is more surface area on their heads compared to the rest of their bodies so they are especially vulnerable to losing heat through their heads.