Health Matters | Winter Dry Skin

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Winter Dry Skin

Winter is here, and conditions are perfect for uncomfortable, dry, itchy skin. As soon as the temperature drops and the house thermostat is set a little higher, your skin starts to dry. While slathering on moisturizers may temporarily soothe your skin, it may be time to add another supplemental method.

The general rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water per day. Some days, eight glasses of water may seem like a daunting task. But, you do not have to drink all that water – eat your water! According to the Mayo Clinic, on average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. Help ensure you are reaching your water intake needs by incorporating these six hydrating foods into your diet:

Broccoli
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse containing fiber, calcium and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E with only a few calories. It also contains sulforaphane, a potent compound that boosts your body’s protective enzymes and shields your skin from harmful UV rays. Even though broccoli is packed with nutrients, it still is made up of 90% water, making it a great food to work into your diet for extra hydration.

Radishes
The spicy-sweet flavor of radishes makes them the perfect addition to salads and slaws. Radishes are another vegetable with high water content – 95%. Radishes also contain large amounts of skin-saving antioxidants and minerals including catechin, silicon, and sulfur.

Yogurt
While the water content of yogurt varies by manufacturer, flavoring, and type of yogurt, the average regular plain yogurt is made up of about 85% water. Not only is yogurt a water-rich food, many are a great source of probiotics, which are good bacteria proven to have powerful skin and health benefits. When ingested, probiotics line the gut and create a healthy and sealed barrier, which helps fight against damage and inflammation ranging from irritable bowel to acne.

When selecting a yogurt, check the label for “live” or “active” cultures to ensure it includes the good-for-you bacteria. Yogurt also contains a substantial amount of potassium and sodium, which can help replace the electrolytes you lose when dehydrated and re-energize your body.

Cucumber
This crisp summer vegetable has the highest water content of any solid food! In fact, a cup of cucumber slices is nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water. Made up of 96.7% water, cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. The vitamin C and caffeic acid in cucumbers soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling, which is why cucumbers are often used to help swollen eyes and sunburn.

Celery
Celery contains just six calories per stalk, but is packed with fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, and K. At 96% water, celery provides a combination of mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins that research shows may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water. Celery is also known to neutralize stomach acid and is often recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a very versatile fruit that can be sliced, diced, and pureed for inclusion in pretty much any meal. Tomatoes are not reserved just for meals, though. Sweet cherry and grape varieties also make an excellent hydrating snack. At 95% water, tomatoes pack enough sweetness and moisture to offset or replace higher-calorie condiments on your sandwich.

  • Save Your Skin - Summer Sun Tips
    Did you know that one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States? More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Before you step outside, remember to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Here are six suggestions that can help save your skin:

    1. SCREEN YOURSELF
    Use a sunscreen every day. The best sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and offer broad spectrum protection against ultraviolet radiation.

    2. COVER YOUR SKIN
    Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before you leave your home and reapply it every two to three hours while outside. Be sure to cover all exposed skin, including forgotten places like the back of your neck, ears, feet, and exposed scalp. Do not rely on sunscreen lotion alone. You can also go the extra mile by wearing long sleeved clothing and long pants to cover your skin.

    3. WEAR A HAT
    A hat with a four inch brim protects more than 95 percent of your head, neck, and face. A hat protects some of the more sensitive areas of the head and will help you see better on sunny days by reducing glare.

    4. FIND SOME SHADE
    Take advantage of shade whenever possible. Stay indoors or in the shade when the sun is most intense, between 10am and 3 pm. Try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the harshest UV rays.

    5. DO NOT TAN
    Everyone looks better with a tan, right? Wrong. There is no such thing as a base tan that provides protection from sun damage, so skip the tanning parlor and layout sessions. Every tan increases the risk that harmful UV rays pose to your skin. Tanning can also speed up your skins aging process and make the appearance of wrinkles more defined. Stay younger looking, and don’t tan.

    6. IT ADDS UP
    Sun damage accumulates over time and occurs even when you’re not actively trying to soak up a few rays. Whether you are walking the dog, mowing the lawn, or enjoying the breeze, sun damage adds up over time.

    Remember that newborns and children are especially sensitive to the sun’s rays, and protecting their skin is crucial. These simple good sun habits can help you enjoy your favorite outdoor activities without risking your health.
  • Tips to Stay Hydrated This Winter
    Scarf. Gloves. Snow boots. Water bottle. One of these things is not like the others, but it is just as important. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, packing a bottle of water is part of the routine. But in winter, it is sometimes forgotten. The truth is you need just as much water in winter as you do during the steamy summer months.

    You may miss the warning signs of dehydration in winter because your body does not sweat as much during this time of year. Nearly 70% of your body is made up of water. If you don’t keep it replenished, you could suffer exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cramps, loss of coordination or even stroke.

    Do you want the flu to bring you down this time of year? Of course not. So drink plenty of water, because dehydration makes you an easy target for colds and flu.

    Bundling up this time of year can also make us sweat more than usual when it’s time to get active. Since we dress in layers with turtlenecks and sweaters, our bodies work harder (by sweating) to cool us down. Shoveling snow, skiing, ice-skating, sledding or even building a snowman can be just as strenuous as summer activities. We work up a healthy sweat, and all of that lost water must be replaced.

    Don’t think that you lose as much water during the winter? Take a look at your breath when you walk outside on a cold day. All of that steam is water vapor escaping your body with each breath.

    How much water do you need to drink every day during the winter? The bottom line is that we are all different and have different activity levels during the winter, so only you know how much water you need every day.

    How can you tell if you getting enough liquids? If you feel thirsty your body is already partially dehydrated. Another sign can be found in the bathroom. Yes, we went there. If your urine is clear or light-colored, you are doing fine. If it is yellow, then it’s time for more water.

    Here are some tips to keep you hydrated this winter:
    • Drink before, during, and after exercise. You may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty as you do during the summer, but keep drinking.
    • Drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. A 120 pound woman should drink 60 ounces of water per day.
    • Balance diuretics with water. Diuretics (like alcohol and caffeine) cause more water loss through urine.
    • Eat more water-based foods like soup, fruits, and vegetables. They are a great source of hydration and nutrients.
    • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.

    If you need one more reason to stay hydrated this time of year, here you go: Too little water makes it tougher to keep off extra pounds. Since we all tend to eat more during the winter, a well hydrated body can help control your appetite and break down fat for energy more efficiently. You’ll be happy you hydrated when swimsuit season rolls around!
  • Winter Storm Safety Tips
    The Mid-Atlantic is bracing for a major winter storm that could drop a lot of snow across the region this weekend. This storm could create potentially dangerous conditions. It is important to keep some basic winter safety tips in mind during and after the storm:

    Shoveling Snow
    A necessary evil after a snow storm, shoveling snow can pose a health risk for many people. Snow shoveling is a strenuous activity. It can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Individuals with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or strokes should not shovel snow.

    If you must shovel snow, shovel as early as possible. Snow is heavier after it has been on the ground for a few days - often melting and re-freezing, creating a solid chunk of snow rather than powdery, just-fallen snow. Also, make sure that you are properly hydrated and prepare your body for shoveling by warming up. Jog in place or do ten jumping jacks before you begin to shovel, as this will get your blood flowing before you begin. Also, be sure to take your time and move slowly when shoveling snow. Shoveling too fast can increase your blood pressure and put you at greater risk for spraining or pulling a muscle.

    Walking on Ice
    Icy patches can be difficult to see. The slips and falls caused by ice can be serious. If you come across an area that you believe may be icy, tap the edge of the area with your foot to be sure. Wear shoes with gripping soles to provide traction. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets when walking in order to keep your balance on a slippery surface. Don’t carry heavy items like shopping bags with you when walking on slippery surfaces. This can change your center of balance, making you more likely to slip and fall.

    When getting out of your vehicle, check to make sure there are no icy spots near your vehicle. If you are parked on a slick spot, move the vehicle to a different area if you can. Also, when entering and exiting your car while on ice, use the vehicle for balance and support.

    Frostbite
    Frostbite occurs when skin and its underlying tissue are exposed to very cold temperatures and freezing conditions. Skin that appears waxy or hard and has a gray tone may have frostbite. The damaged skin may also itch or burn and may turn red in color as the affected area thaws.

    The first step to treating frostbite is to get out of the cold. Get inside to a warm place as soon as possible. Once inside, remove any wet clothing. If you cannot get out of the cold, place your hands under your arms to warm them. Also, cover areas that can be most affected by frostbite (nose and ears) with a scarf and try not to walk if your feet may have frostbite, as this will make the condition worse.

    Frostbite is generally treated by gradually warming the skin. Remember to seek the treatment of a medical professional as soon as possible if you think you may have frostbite.

  • Stay Safe During and After the Winter Storm
    Snow is quickly accumulating in Richmond and Hampton Roads, Virginia this morning, creating potentially dangerous conditions. It is important to keep some basic winter safety tips in mind during and after the storm:

    Shoveling Snow
    A necessary evil after a snow storm, shoveling snow can pose a health risk for many people. Snow shoveling is a strenuous activity. It can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Individuals with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or strokes should not shovel snow.

    If you must shovel snow, shovel as early as possible. Snow is heavier after it has been on the ground for a few days - often melting and re-freezing, creating a solid chunk of snow rather than powdery, just-fallen snow. Also, make sure that you are properly hydrated and prepare your body for shoveling by warming up. Jog in place or do ten jumping jacks before you begin to shovel, as this will get your blood flowing before you begin. Also, be sure to take your time and move slowly when shoveling snow. Shoveling too fast can increase your blood pressure and put you at greater risk for spraining or pulling a muscle.

    Walking on Ice
    Icy patches can be difficult to see. The slips and falls caused by ice can be serious. If you come across an area that you believe may be icy, tap the edge of the area with your foot to be sure. Wear shoes with gripping soles to provide traction. Also, keep your hands out of your pockets when walking in order to keep your balance on a slippery surface. Don’t carry heavy items like shopping bags with you when walking on slippery surfaces. This can change your center of balance, making you more likely to slip and fall.

    When getting out of your vehicle, check to make sure there are no icy spots near your vehicle. If you are parked on a slick spot, move the vehicle to a different area if you can. Also, when entering and exiting your car while on ice, use the vehicle for balance and support.

    Frostbite
    Frostbite occurs when skin and its underlying tissue are exposed to very cold temperatures and freezing conditions. Skin that appears waxy or hard and has a gray tone may have frostbite. The damaged skin may also itch or burn and may turn red in color as the affected area thaws.

    The first step to treating frostbite is to get out of the cold. Get inside to a warm place as soon as possible. Once inside, remove any wet clothing. If you cannot get out of the cold, place your hands under your arms to warm them. Also, cover areas that can be most affected by frostbite (nose and ears) with a scarf and try not to walk if your feet may have frostbite, as this will make the condition worse.

    Frostbite is generally treated by gradually warming the skin. Remember to seek the treatment of a medical professional as soon as possible if you think you may have frostbite.
  • Tips to Keep Kids Active During Winter Break
    When spring and summer are here, it is easy to find games and activities in which your children can participate. However, once the winter months roll around, it is often more tempting for kids to stay warm indoors by parking themselves in front of a television or wasting the day away on their smartphones. If you want to make sure your little ones stay active despite the chilly weather, try out some of the fun ideas below!

    Hit the Gym
    When temperatures drop, outdoor games are not always the best idea. What is a parent to do in this circumstance? If you have a family gym membership, it can be a great place to take your kids to get some exercise while having a ton of fun! Most gyms usually have a play area specifically for young children, and several even have an indoor swimming pool open to gym members of all ages.

    Snowball Fight!
    If you live in an area that is lucky enough to see snow during the winter months, then throw on those winter coats and boots and take full advantage of it with your kids! Have some fun by sledding, building a snowman together, or even having a good old-fashioned snowball fight. Enjoying the snow is a free way to stay active and have a blast!

    Brain Power
    In addition to staying physically active, it is important to make sure your children are staying mentally active as well. During a long winter break from school, it is easy to spend hours doing mindless activities such as surfing the internet or binge-watching a new television show. Help you kids break this habit by spending the day at a local library or taking them to a museum! Reading is a great way to keep the mind fresh, and kids can have fun choosing their own books to take home. Additionally, many art, science, and history museums feature interactive exhibits and age-appropriate activities that will keep your little ones engaged and excited, all while learning something new!

    It doesn’t have to be difficult to keep your kids active during the winter months. These ideas are just a couple of helpful tools you can use to motivate them to have some healthy, productive fun!



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