Winter Dehydration Could Be Wrecking Your Health

Holy crap it got cold here in Texas the past week! As the arctic blast has moved down from Canada, seriously how does anyone live up there when it is this cold outside. The cold front has gripped most of the US, has brought about one of the other major stressors of the holiday season.

One that not many people think about during the winter, dehydration. As the air cools off the humidity drops and because of the porousness of our skin, we lose a significant amount of water.

In the summer, we all understand how important it is to drink plenty of water. We quickly see how our bodies are losing water through the increase in sweat and activity. The winter is a different story, while you may get to a flop sweat if you are shoveling the driveway or sidewalk, but otherwise, you’re usually too cold to be sweating that much.

So, how is it that you may get dehydrated in the winter. The pure science is that there is more water in you; than in the air and because of osmosis and evaporation from both your skin and lung (when you breathe) you are losing water continuously. If the decrease in overall humidity in the air wasn't enough, our heaters are one of the biggest culprits in dehydrating the air.

The primary symptom is that your skin dry's out and becomes very itchy, but it may also be you feel colder than normal. Your energy may be low; you might have an increased sensation of hunger, or you could be having headaches. The problem is that the winter dehydration is a bit harder to balance out. Because of the decreased humidity and the increased use of the heater, it can effectively pull off more water than even sweating does. So how do you fix your dry, itchy skin in the winter?

Drink more water The first step should always be to drink more water. You should be drinking 2/3rd's of your body weight in ounces a day of a good spring water. That may seem like an intimidating number, but it should be getting close to a gallon of water a day, and I am sure you will be doing a lot better than you are now.

Eat more fat The second step for anyone with dry, itchy skin is to eat more fats. These should be good source fats, like coconut oil or real grass-fed butter. Any healthy source of fats will help, that is as long as you digest and utilize them.

Get a Humidifier A humidifier shouldn't be your first step, but it may help balance out the house. It may also make the house more comfortable during the winter months, decreasing the need to run the heater as much. But for sure a humidifier will slow the loss of water while you are in your home.

Take short warm showers As tempting as it may be to take a long hot bath or shower after a cold winter day. This is stripping the moisture or of your skin. So, keep them short and warm NOT hot. Also, don't use a commercial moisturizer cream after you wash. If you feel like you have to us a cream or moisturizer. Then use a coconut oil or other healthy fat as a lotion. The simple analogy I use with a patient is that if you wouldn't put it in your mouth do not put it on your skin.

The winter dehydration isn't just bad for our skin it affects our overall health, can make us look unhealthy and puts undue stress on our already taxed adrenal glands.  So, make sure you are getting enough water and if you have to salt your veggies with a bit of good sea salt.  Stay tuned next week as I finish up the holiday stressors it should be an interesting one.

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