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Month: November 2019

Five Tips for Keeping Your Ears Warm This Winter (and Why It Matters)

Keeping Your Ears Warm This WinterRemember when Mom would chase after you, insisting you put on your hat and scarf before you headed out into the frigid weather? Remember how you would protest, and maybe even leave that hat and scarf behind?

Turns out, Mom was right.

Our bodies lose copious amounts of heat from our heads, which can affect core body temperature, but that’s not the whole story. Failing to keep your ears protected from cold weather can contribute to, or even cause, hearing loss.

Ears, like your nose, are comprised mostly of cartilage, so there is no insulation (fat) to keep them warm when the temperatures drop. You probably figured that out when you were last in the cold: your nose and ears are usually the first body parts to feel the chill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

Our hands and feet are also susceptible to conditions such as frostbite, but that is usually avoided by wearing gloves, socks, and shoes.

In fact, once the temperature hits 59°F, you need to make sure your ears are protected. In many parts of the country, 59°F is hardly bundle-up weather. But at this temperature, your hypothalamus (a small portion of the brain that is responsible for multiple body functions, including temperature control) begins to conserve heat for your internal organs, moving blood away from your extremities (that means your ears).

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Ears Warm in the Winter

Cold ears are annoying, to be sure, but unprotected ears in cold weather can actually be dangerous. When your ears are exposed to cold, bone spurs, also called exostosis, can result. This happens when excess bone grows in the ear canal to protect the ear. This condition is sometimes called surfer’s ear, since surfers who frequent cold water wear wetsuits, but they do not usually protect their ears.

Excess bone growth can be incredibly painful. When that bone growth occurs in the ear canal, it can lead to a host of other problems. Water, dirt, and bacteria can become trapped in the ear and lead to recurring ear infections. The only treatment for exostosis is surgery.

How Can You Keep Your Ears Protected From the Cold?

  • Wear a hat with snug-fitting ear flaps. If wearing a hat is problematic, invest in quality earmuffs.
  • Fleece headbands that cover the ears can be worn under a warm hat or beanie for extra protection.
  • Commercial ear plugs are helpful, but custom-fitting ear plugs, made by a hearing specialist, can provide better protection.
  • If you are just out in the cold for a short time, you can pull your scarf up over your ears or tighten the hood of your jacket. Both of these short-term fixes will help protect your ears from the wind and cold.

For more information on how to protect your ears this winter, contact Premier Urgent Care at (773) 891-2890.

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.
Call (773) 891-2890.
Insurance accepted.

6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Holiday Season

tips for staying healthy this holidayThe holiday season is here, and while it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also one of the most stressful. Schedules are full, it’s cold and flu season, and everyone is trying to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.

All the bustle and stress of the holiday season can easily cause some people to overlook disease prevention, and cutting corners during daily tasks and chores can easily lead to the spread of infectious diseases and put a damper on your holiday celebrations. The following tips can help you and your loved one stay healthy this holiday season.

Stay Dry

Winter weather means lots of snow and ice. Staying dry is one of the best ways to prevent illness. When the temperature drops and it’s snowing outside, wear a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and waterproof shoes or boots. While it’s a myth that being cold causes a cold, staying outside when you’re cold and wet taxes your body and can lead to poor immune system function.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Tell If You Have the Flu

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Germs and disease-causing bacteria thrive on dirty surfaces and spread easily. Make sure to wash your hands before and after all meals and after personal contact with others. Use warm running water and soap, washing for at least 20 full seconds. Be sure to keep your fingernails trimmed to reasonable lengths and clean under them as well every time you wash.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Hand Washing Techniques

Check Your Vaccination Schedule

Make sure you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations. Try to get them out of the way before the winter weather starts if possible, and pay close attention for any signs of adverse reactions.

Avoid Overindulgence

The holiday season is a great time to enjoy home cooked meals with friends and family, but be careful not to overdo it. Eating too much is taxing on the body and can cause an upset stomach and other gastrointestinal issues. Foods with high levels of sugar can trigger inflammation and other issues.

Ensure All Food Is Cooked Properly

When serving holiday meals, use instant-read meat thermometers to ensure all prepared meats are cooked to appropriate temperatures. Undercooked meat can carry diseases like salmonella and may lead to serious illness.

Get Adequate Rest

You might be very busy over the holidays, but you shouldn’t neglect sleep. Aim for at least six to eight hours of sleep each night and adjust your schedule accordingly. Burning yourself out and tackling your holiday errands without adequate rest is not only stressful for your body, but also leaves you more vulnerable to illness and more prone to accidental injuries.

Come to Premier Urgent Care for Fast, Efficient Treatment

When these health issues do arise, Premier Urgent Care in Chicago can provide safe and timely treatment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for immediate care.

Better Providers. Better Care.

Learn why patients have come to trust Premier Urgent Care.

No appointment needed.

Call (773) 891-2890.

Insurance accepted.