Seven health problems that can be triggered by turning the heating on
Want to boost your health this winter? We look at seven health problems that can be triggered by turning the heating on, and how to avoid them.
While it’s important to stay warm in winter, central heating can have a negative effect on our health, especially for those with existing health conditions such as asthma and eczema.
GP from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Dr Neel Patel explains what you can do to protect your health when you turn on the heating this winter.
Seven health conditions that can be triggered by central heating
Here are seven health conditions that can be triggered by central heating.
Central heating can make the air inside our homes very dry. This can cause lung conditions like asthma to flare up. You may find the dry air triggers coughing and shortness of breath.
2) Sinus infections
The dry atmosphere can also lead to sinus infections as the air dries out the layer of mucus lining your nose, leading to blocked sinuses.
As radiators heat the air in a room, a process known as convection is produced. This causes dust to circulate around the room which can trigger allergies.
4) Headaches and migraines
Although dehydration is something we usually associate with summer, it is easy to become dehydrated when in a centrally heated environment all day. This can lead to headaches and even migraines if you’re prone to them.
5) Skin conditions
If you have eczema or dry, sensitive skin, you may notice it’s worse in winter. The reason for this is central heating dries out the air and reduces humidity which can trigger eczema and skin irritation.
6) Itchy eyes
The dry air can cause your tears to evaporate too quickly, making your eyes feel gritty, dry and itchy.
You may also find you get more nosebleeds in the winter months. Again, this is due to the lack of moisture in the air which can result in dryness and scabs inside your nostrils.
Tips to manage these conditions this winter
Here are some tips that can help you manage these conditions this winter.
Be prepared with medication
If you know you suffer from any of these conditions in winter, ensure you have the medication required to alleviate your symptoms. Whether that’s migraine relief tablets, allergy medication or an asthma inhaler, prepare for the cold weather by stocking up now.
Turn down the heating slightly
Both a room that is too warm and a room that is too cold can be bad for your health so it’s about finding a balance. 18°C is usually the temperature recommended for bedrooms while 21°C is ideal for living rooms.
Moisturise dry skin
You can look after your skin in winter by moisturising regularly. Ointments can be quite greasy but are most effective at keeping moisture in the skin. Lotions contain less oil and are therefore not greasy but may be less effective. Creams sit somewhere in between.
Add humidity to your environment
Another thing to try is investing in a humidifier to regulate the amount of water vapour in the air. However, if you’re on a budget, simply placing a bowl of water near heaters should have the same effect.
Drink lots of water
It can be easy to forget to drink enough water in the colder months. You still need to aim for six to eight glasses of non-alcoholic fluid each day if you want to avoid dehydration.