Feeling freeze-dried

How to stay Hydrated in the Winter

When I was younger, I hated humidifiers because they gave me nightmares. Now, I use them to take me out of the living nightmares: cold symptoms. When I was six years-old, my mom set up a humidifier in my room during winter because of how dry the room would be. I would have the same recurring dream of being chased by a monster who would grab and eat me alive, and then let out a loud hum which turned out to be the humidifier’s noise all along.

These days, living in my apartment, the nightmares do not occur when I’m sleeping but rather when I am awake. I wake up sometime late during the night or early during the morning with a sore throat and a nose so dry I cannot breathe. When I blow my nose, blood comes out and phlegm leaves when I spit. You’re welcome for the image. 

My skin becomes dry and itchy. The lack of water droplets in the air both inside and especially outside, contribute to dehydration, a state in which the body dries because it is taking in less fluid than expends. In effect, and this is a rough figure-of-speech, by not taking proper care of your body and surroundings, you are essentially freeze-drying yourself, which is a way of conserving goods by procuring them in cold, dry air. It’s helpful for ice cream, and painful for us humans.

I saw this problem right away and immediately set up a humidifier in my bedroom and immediately found that the water droplets in the air moistened my nose and helped me to breathe better, as well as soothing my sore throat. But this is only a small step in a set of important new moves to keep me hydrated and healthy. 

According to National Association for Continence, “How to stay Hydrated During the Winter Months,” the seemingly simplest steps can help you stay hydrated during winter. Some reasons it is easy to dehydrate during the winter months without noticing includes not feeling like drinking liquids because of not feeling thirsty during winter, colds and sicknesses limiting your desire to eat or drink as often as you should, and the many layers you wear to keep warm causing you to sweat more often.

An understandable misconception is that the cold weather naturally keeps us hydrated because ice and snow is frozen water.

My humidifier has helped me breathe easier, cough less and dispel more phlegm. There are more steps I need to take to make myself better. Turning to Illinois Extension’s blog, “Stay Hydrated this Winter,” setting goals for yourself will help you retain your moisture through liquids. “The key to staying hydrated… is mindfulness… Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day for women, or 96 ounces for men (that’s 8 and 12 cups respectively.)”

An understandable misconception is that the cold weather naturally keeps us hydrated because ice and snow is frozen water. I turned my heat up without realizing I filled my home with dry air, swiftly drying whatever moisture I had and causing my body to react with bloody snot and tawny phlegm. I also needed to make more ways for air to flow through my home. 

I then vacuumed my floor, only turned on my electric heat when I needed it and changed my diet to include more water and liquids. Since I have done this, I have been feeling healthier. Your home is usually the place  you spend most of your time. The freezing weather outside does have an effect on you.

I was leaving campus when someone held the door open for me. I meant to say “Thank you,” but my throat and nasal passages were so dry that all I could say was “Hank Ooh.” I followed the steps of keeping my body hydrated, drank more water, breathed in more humidified air and have become healthier. If you try to make these changes in your life you may avoid dehydration effects including bronchitis, dry and sore throat, colds and trouble breathing by simply drinking more liquids.

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