98.6 should be a number familiar to you as it is the average temperature of the human body in degrees Fahrenheit.
The human body constantly reacts to its environment in a process known as homeostasis (starting to remind you of middle school science, right?). The important part to remember is that any drastic change in outside temperature, short or long-term, changes the body's internal temperature. When this body temperature is elevated or lowered, bad things happen. Metabolic processes necessary for life cannot occur quickly, if at all, and the body begins to shut down. In other words, you want to stay as close to 98.6 degrees F as much as possible.
So how can you do this? Winter seems to be the season of sickness. The sheer number of people rushed to the hospital due to temperature changes is frightening and the number of deaths is even more startling. Who ever said the common cold couldn't kill?
Fortunately, there are several, easy steps that can be taken in order to keep yourself and your loved ones at a toasty 98.6°, and these steps mostly include wearing warm clothes.
CLOTHING IS IMPORTANT
1. Winter coats- Remind your teens that a sweatshirt is not a winter coat. Although a sweatshirt might be easier to find and throw on before you head out the door, a sweatshirt won't keep you warm for extended periods of time. This is especially true if you're going to be doing winter activities such as ice skating or sledding; wear something that is made to keep you warm.
2. Gloves- Gloves are another thing that are often avoided. Yes, they can sometimes be a pain, but they do keep your fingers and hands warm and able. Have you ever tried using a cell phone with frozen hands? It's not pretty- your hands shake and it takes about three times as long to upload that sledding pic to Instagram.
3. Hats- You know that a large portion of the body's heat is lost through the head. Because people have different types of hair, hair length, or no hair at all, it's safe to say that head warmth is not equally bestowed. The best way to keep your body heat at prime is to wear a hat, or maybe some earmuffs (ears can get cold pretty quickly).
4. Socks- Whether you love them or hate them, you lose a lot of heat through your feet, as well. Wear slippers around the house (cold floors will draw heat out) if socks are not your cup of tea.
FOOD AND DRINK
Speaking of tea, drinking warm beverages such as hot tea, hot coffee, and hot chocolate can help warm you up, especially after being outside for a long period of time. While the drink won't affect your body temperature too much (there's that homeostasis again), your hands and mouth are very sensitive. This sensitivity to the heat will make you feel warm all over.
Hot meals, such as soup and mac n cheese, will also help you remain warm in the winter.
Colder foods like ice cream, while delicious, do not do much for you when it comes to staying warm. So if you're going to have some ice cream, try to add some hot fudge or warm apple pie.
Come on, this is Massachusetts! You're bound to get cold sometime! Bundle up, be safe, be warm, and have a wonderful winter!
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