Winter is at your door, bringing along chilly weather and lots of snow that give you a reason to wear fuzzy socks, cause you inevitable ailments like the seasonal flu and common cold, and some physical issues that are out for making you uncomfortable, such as cold hands and feet, red nose, and dry, cracked skin.
But then there are those rather weird but not uncommon body problems that strike in winter. Can you guess any of them?
Before anything else, answer these questions: Have you ever gone bat blind in winter because of UV rays reflected off of snow? Have your hands ever looked like they were dipped in purple or white paint because of Raynaud’s syndrome? Did you ever notice that your feet stunk more in winter than they did in other seasons?
Whether any of these things happened to you during a previous winter or not, there are weirder things waiting for you on the NEXT page. If you haven’t noticed yet, this is a list of five weird things that happen to your body in winter!
#1 – Your feet smell worse
Don’t worry, your feet did nothing. It’s the bacteria that live on your skin that causes the apocalyptic smell we all want to avoid!
When you let sweat linger on your skin, the bacteria that feed on sweat thrive and produce a nasty smell. Now doesn’t that happen all the time and not just in winter, you may ask?
Well, you don’t wear unventilated footwear during summer, do you? Unventilated shoes, which may include boots and insulated shoes, are prone to fungal and bacterial overgrowth and when you spend all day in your boots, your feet do not breathe. The only living things that breathe in there are bacteria and fungi!
The putrid odor increases as you wear the same boots every day and reaches the stratosphere when you wear nylon socks!
Unlike cotton socks, nylon socks do not absorb sweat so it will linger against the skin of your feet and the bad odor will be ever-present.
Try some foot soaks in winter to get keep your feet fresh and healthy!
#2 – You get pale, purple, red hands
Most of us have never heard of Raynaud’s syndrome but it exists and strikes three to five people in the United States during winter.
Exposure to low temperatures may reduce your blood flow and cause you Raynaud’s syndrome, in which your fingers, toes, and other parts of your body become either pale, red, blue, or purple.
When you get Raynaud’s syndrome, your hands and feet feel numb from the cold and then they give you a prickling or stinging pain.
Try wearing thick gloves to keep your hands warm this winter!
#3 – You go snow-blind
Don’t you love it when it snows? Snow is honestly the best part of winter but its beauty sometimes comes with a price when you don’t take proper precaution!
Snow reflects 80 percent of UV radiation which means that your eyes become more prone to damage when you spend a long time in the snow while doing activities like driving in snow, snowboarding, ice skating, ice fishing, etc., without wearing sunglasses to reduce winter glare or UV glasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.
Snow blindness, also known as photokeratitis or “sunburn of the eye cornea,” is as painful as its name may suggest: it causes inflammation of the cornea, redness in the eyes, swelling, headaches, lazy vision, and a temporary loss of vision.
Snow blindness usually goes away when you stay indoors and let your eyes rest. But, you may become permanently blind from long exposure to reflected UV rays.
#4 – Your fingers and toes shrink
Winter really is set to ruin your hands and feet. First, Raynaud’s syndrome and now this: shrinking fingers and toes!
Your body reacts to cold weather by trying to keep itself warm, so the small blood vessels in your fingers—quite near the surface of your skin—get constrict to preserve body heat, which reduces blood flow and makes your fingers or toes “shrink.” This process is called vasoconstriction.
Once you warm up quickly, you get chilblains. It’s when your hands or feet swell up and appear red because of blood vessels getting bigger and blood rushing to your fingers and toes.
When chilblains strike, brace yourself for the itchiness and pain!
#5 – You feel less cold?
On a serious note, you should never let this happen to you because it’s the final stage of hypothermia.
In extreme cold, your body may start to lose heat faster than it can produce and you end up with hypothermia, in which your blood pressure drops and your heart and nervous system can’t function normally.
Then, in the final stage of hypothermia, also known as “terminal burrowing” or “paradoxical undressing,” your body stops responding to the cold and you feel paradoxically hot due to nerve damage so you start to undress while you are, in fact, freezing.
You shouldn’t let hypothermia go untreated, otherwise, you’ll die.
Hypothermia treatment involves taking synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine medications that restore hormone levels and help you recover.
And those were some arguably weird things your body does during winter! Bundle up warm this coming winter and remember to arm your hands with gloves and your feet with cotton socks!