Winter Health Tips Part 1: Effects of Heating

Winter Health Tips Part 1: Effects of Heating

Although Tel Aviv doesn’t experience extreme cold conditions, it can still get relatively cold from December through to March time. The poor insulation and often improvised heating indoors has many people wondering how to best stay warm and healthy.

Seeing as the weather in Israel is warm for the majority of the year, many of the homes and buildings are not sufficiently insulated, and poorly equipped for the height of winter – leaving you chilled and in a draft of cold air, even indoors. Most older houses/apartment blocks do not have an inbuilt central heating system so when the weather gets colder, the majority of the population will rely on electric or convection heating systems.

Unfortunately, the heaters can have a negative effect on one’s health (not to speak of the fire-hazard and danger from electric shock). For your convenience we have compiled medical background on how electric heaters affect our health in winter:

Health Impact From Convection Heaters & Air Conditioners

Convection heaters work by circulating air around the room. During this process, dust particles from the air are picked up too, which can aggravate allergies. In addition to dust, bacteria from the air will also be circulating, and the warmth from the heating system will cause the bacteria to multiply faster. Many times it is your only option in Tel Aviv – but from a health perspective it is not recommended.

Electric Heaters And Your Health

Electric heaters warm the air inside the house, which makes the air drier. Breathing in dry air can lead to respiratory disorders. Your skin already gets drier during the winter, and since heaters reduce the moisture in the air, it can worsen the symptoms of dry, cracked & itchy skin. To combat these effects, it would be advisable to use a humidifier or vaporiser at home, as well as keeping a window slightly open to let in some fresh air.

Health Recommendations from our Doctors

Besides using a humidifier, make sure you air out the rooms regularly, opening the windows for short periods every few hours. Here are a few other ideas how to stay warm AND healthier in the winter – and also how to save energy and money …

  • Wear extra layers of clothes and wrap up in a warm blanket
  • Use a foam seal/draft blocker on doors and windows (you can even have a go at making your own, see for example: diyncrafts.com)
  • Drink hot drinks, and eat warming foods (soups, stews….)

We wish you a healthy winter – don’t forget to get your flu-vaccine – and make sure to also enjoy the massive rains and melancholy of a gray rainy day, and to step out of the city and see the wonders the rain and colder temperature do for nature!

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