Monday, 27 February 2012

Does Cold Weather Make You Sick

AppId is over the quota
AppId is over the quota

Back in the middle of the 20th century, we still believed that some illnesses were triggered by letting ourselves get too cold. A lot of volunteers got free board for a couple of weeks at the UK's Common Cold Research Centre in return for allowing themselves to get cold and wet every day. There is a rumour that one couple spent their honeymoon there. That series of experiments proved that you don't catch a cold by getting chilled. We now know that you get the shivers because you are already suffering from a virus infection.

Does cold weather make you sick in any other way? Well, yes, extreme cold can damage you body. Reduced blood supply to feet, hands, ears and noses can cause chilblains and even frostbite. Now past threescore years and ten, this year I even began to suffer chilblains myself for the first time,

Under prolonged exposure to cold, where your body cannot maintain your blood temperature, you start by losing the ability to use your muscles, and later you suffer hypothermia. Your core temperature drops. Your get sleepy and lose the will to do anything. If you aren't removed to a warmer environment, you eventually switch off and die.

Here in the middle of France, the temperature hasn't reached freezing for ten days, and it's been below -15°C several times. There is a chance that daytime temperatures will rise to around +4°C next week, but it will probably snow when they do.

So far, I haven't heard of many people dying because of the cold, but there are plenty of people working long hours in difficult conditions in order to keep everything working. Today's local paper showed photographs of men using pneumatic drills to break up and remove ice that was forming continuously from water seepage through the walls of two railway tunnels about 150km north of here. They were doing this round the clock, in between the times when trains passed through. And they weren't just chipping stalactites and stalagmites away from the sides of the tunnel. The ice accumulating on the floor had risen so high that it threatened to derail the trains.

I used to love ski-ing, but I'm not flexible enough now, and my circulation isn't as good as it was. Now cold weather makes me sick - at least when it goes on for weeks and I'm not on a winter holiday.

Mike Kingdom-Hockings lives a bit to the left of the middle of France. He and his wife Phyllis were both born in colonial East Africa, so they feel happier in sparsely-populated places than in the UK. Mike has run the site since the years when they lived in Botswana. It started out as a travel site but is now a blog.

View the original article here

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