Skin Protection in the Winter

We all know that the skin is the largest organ of the body.  But sometimes we forget how important healthy skin is for a healthy body. Your skin does many jobs like helping your body control its temperature and protecting you from germs like bacteria that might make you sick.  A way to think of your skin is like a strong concrete wall.  Skin cells form a good barrier when they have strong connections to each other, just like concrete blocks need cement to keep them stuck together.  And just like any good wall, if we don’t care for it the wall might start to crack and fail – with our skin that might mean infection or inflammation.

So, let’s review skin health, which is especially important during the winter when the air doesn’t hold as much moisture and dry weather makes it easier for our “strong wall” of skin cells to crack and weaken.

Signs that our skin might be starting to weaken:

  • Chapped lips
  • Dry, itchy arms and legs
  • Cracked hands and feet
  • Small white patches on the cheeks

Skin Moisture – Our goal is to combat the dry air.  Here are a few tips:

  • Use a moisturizer
    • Find a moisturizer that you like – the best moisturizers are thick and do not have fragrances or other additives, especially for those of us with sensitive skin.
    • Some options that I like to use: CeraVe, Cetaphil, coconut oil, or even ointments like petroleum jelly (as long as we can keep it from staining your clothes!)
    • If a lotion has a pump it might mean that water was added to the lotion, which can actually dry the skin.
      • Better to find a tub or squeeze tube.
    • Apply 1-2 times every day, especially after baths or showers when the water washes away natural skin oils
      • Overuse of hand soap can also remove natural oils
    • Moisture comes from the inside too!
      • Drink water throughout the day whenever you are thirsty and more often when you are exercising, spending time outside or sick.

Skin care can be quick and simple! Even if you do not have obvious signs of skin dryness, having a daily routine will keep your skin happy and healthy.

What’s a good present that we can all give to ourselves this winter season? Answer: A big tub of moisturizing skin cream!

by Dr. Marcus Baca

Winter Weather Safety

Winter is here and kids are excited to get outside and play in the snow. Parents know that the cold temperatures can also bring potential dangers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your family safe this time of year.

 

Dress for the Weather:

-Dress children in layers when they go outside to help them stay warm and dry. This should include a hat, gloves or mittens, warm socks and waterproof boots. Make sure to remove and replace any wet clothes right away.

– Remember that sun sunscreen and sunglasses are important this time of year because the snow reflects the sun’s UV rays.

-Give your child a snack before they go outside. It’s also a good idea to have children come inside about once every hour to warm up and drink fluids.

 

Use Caution when Participating in Winter Sports:

-Children and teens should wear a properly fitted helmet for skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

-Avoid sledding on steep hills or areas where there are trees, large rocks, or busy streets nearby.

-The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that teens younger than 16 should not operate snowmobiles and children younger than 6 should not ride on them.

 

Be Aware of Signs of Danger:

-Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin. Frostbite most commonly occurs on the ears, nose, fingers, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite, seek medical care.

-Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, clumsiness and confusion. If you suspect your child has hypothermia, call 911 immediately.

 

Keep Your Family Safe Inside the Home:

-Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and in working order on every level of the home and in all sleeping areas.

-Be careful around fires. Put a protective gate around the fireplace if there are small children in the house.

-Keep an emergency kit at home and in the car. Stock the kit with extra blankets and clothes, flashlights, batteries, matches, a first aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food.

 

Washing hands frequently and keeping your family’s immunizations up to date are also important ways to stay healthy this winter.

Holidays Got You Down?

Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season. People who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness during this time.  Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues. Some can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss.  A lot of seasonal factors can trigger the holiday blues such as, less sunlight, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization or the inability to be with friends or family. These are all factors that can seriously affect your mood.

Via nami.org