Cold weather causes discomfort for many in the early and late months of the year. Freefall temperatures will resurface ice and snow in some parts of the country, presenting risks to the elderly. Viruses also multiply during fall and winter, and cold weather can exacerbate existing health problems.
How does cold weather affect health?
Fall and winter months can have a double effect on people's overall health.
Cold weather is known to suppress the immune system, which leaves people vulnerable to diseases that usually develop at the time.
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Mental health problems during winter are caused due to shorter and darker days than cold weather.
Some people may experience a type of depression during the darkest months, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can be particularly severe.
Symptoms of SAD include:
– Persistent mood
– Loss of pleasure or interest in daily activities
– Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
– Lethargy (lack of energy) and daytime sleepiness
– Sleep more than normal and have difficulty getting up
– Weight gain and carbohydrate cravings
People who experience these symptoms should visit their GP who can evaluate them and recommend treatment.