Myths About Winter

Myths About Winter

As I recall, there is often some truth to myths…

Though I’ve always prided myself as being a scientifically-minded person, I must admit that these winter myths threw me for a loop. What do you mean that technically not all snowflakes are different? I just passed on that piece of misinformation to my six-year-old yesterday! And you’re telling me that wintertime isn’t the best time for some extra sleep and indoor play? Well, I’ll have to disagree with you there; not only are you not citing scientific evidence, you’re also forgetting about our own natural body rhythms. We are mammals, are we not? I am not suggesting that we loaf around on the couch all winter, of course—the indoor recreation centers are open, after all, to curtail that. But I also think we’re simply not meant to be as active in the winter months, just as I don’t think it’s right for us to eat, say, bear or alligator when they are higher up on the food chain than we are just because we have guns.

I also have to wonder about what proponents of endless outdoor snow play and winter fun have to think about those of us in danger of having our heat turned off—such as the elderly and the millions of people struggling to simply pay their bill this year—or those who have to live in it without a home. I doubt Seasonal Affective Disorder is on these peoples’ minds much as they simply try to survive the cold. I remember one year having to sleep with multiple shirts, pants, and pairs of socks and gloves on when I could not afford heat. Let me tell you something: it’s not fun.

There is also the fact that some of us have a much harder time breathing outdoors in the wintertime. My asthma acts up most during these months, and having lived with smokers for a good 20 years of my life (including those developmental nine months in utero), I also have bad bronchitis every year. If I were to spend as much time outside as this article suggests in the winter, I would be sick more often than not, despite the fact that being cold doesn’t cause colds. And with no insurance or way to get an inhaler at the moment, that’s just begging for trouble.

And while we are on the topic of cold—and those poor kids who have to stand in it while they wait for the bus each morning—there are plenty of other risks attached to it other than the mistaken one of the common cold. People can be at risk of developing frostnip within minutes, while frostbite is also a risk during these months. The latter often requires medical attention. Hypothermia is another serious concern.

I am not trying to scare anyone here, but I do want to make sure that when you read things like these “winter myths” busted, you keep some common sense in mind. Yes, play outside in the snow—it’s fun!—but don’t stay out long, and for goodness sake, bundle up well to avoid these health hazards.