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Hydration: Why it’s Just as Important When It’s Cold Out
December 11, 2014
By Dr. Beth Quintana, N.D.
Along with the festive holiday cheer, this time of year often brings with it dry skin and chapped lips. One of the many downsides to this is, if the skin gets dry it is more prone to cracking and bleeding. And when this happens it can create an easy-in for infections through the protective barrier that is our skin, one of our body’s main systems of defense.
Moisture and hydration are also essential for the integrity of our mucous membranes, especially of our mouth, throat, and nose. When mucosa gets dry, we are more susceptible to infection because the mucous membrane is a protective barrier. To make matters worse, the recirculated air from heaters running in closed spaces can carry organisms through the air, increasing our exposure to possible illness.
So what to do? It’s pretty simple, really. Drink water. Plain old pure water. A general rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight (lbs) in ounces. So if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 75 ounces of water daily.
Other ways to hydrate and restore moisture? A couple of my faves are drinking herbal tea that’s not too astringent/drying, and doing steam inhalations. A steam inhalation warms and decongests the mucus membranes of the nose, sinuses and throat. They can also be used to help fight infections, and are helpful in calming coughs. Best wishes for the winter season!