Quarta-feira’, 27/3/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Illnesses you should prepare for this winter

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Michigan winters can be brutal and unpredictable. One day you can go to bed with a foot of snow and then, the next morning, it may be 50 degrees and raining. So knowing how to prepare for 2019’s weather this winter- after last year’s wicked snowfall and temperatures- is essential.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, a 16-month spread calendar for seasonal forecasts, we can expect a winter similar to last year’s; possibly worse. Not only will the cold hit the Great Lakes region hard, but it is predicted that the cold will spread across the country and continue into the spring months. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that “mid-March could be stormy virtually coast to coast, bringing snow, sleet, and/or rain as well as strong and gusty winds to many areas.”

With the colder-than-normal temperatures, illnesses become more common. Influenza rates nearly doubled from 26,019 cases in Michigan in 2017 to 45,463 cases in 2018, and we can expect to see this number continue to increase, especially if this winter is as bad as predicted.

Be sure to cover all of your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Avoid sneezing into hands in order to prevent spreading germs. Photo by Caidyn Hutchinson

Norovirus is another cold-weather disease commonly spread in schools that we should be on the lookout for. This virus does happen year-round; however, it is more common in the winter. It is an infectious stomach bug that can cause extreme nausea, though it usually doesn’t last for more than a few days. Although norovirus doesn’t last for a long period of time, it can cause dehydration, which can lead to fainting and other health problems.  

A more common and less severe illness one may be exposed to is Raynaud’s Disease, which is the body’s reaction to severely cold weather. When the human body is cold, it tries to conserve heat by slowing blood flow, which causes the arteries that carry blood to the fingers and toes to shrink. If this happens too quickly, the affected person can temporarily lose feeling in their fingers and toes, which will often turn blue or white. If this happens to you, do not worry: this is not as severe as it looks. Once your body has warmed up, the arteries grow again, causing your fingers and toes to tingle, but nothing more than that. If you don’t have feeling in your fingers and toes for longer than 20 minutes, you should consult a doctor ― this could be a sign of other illnesses ― but, more often than not, this illness can be cured by sitting in front of a heater (however, don’t get too close to the heater or your body may heat up too fast, causing more problems) or laying under a blanket to get yourself warm again.

If you have yet to get a flu shot: Gull Lake High School highly recommends that students and parents both partake in getting them, in order to prevent the spread of the illness in our community.


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I'm a sophomore at Gull Lake High School and I am striving to pursue a career in journalism. I enjoy writing about current events both local and national along with photography. I hope to grow not only as a photographer and a writer but as a person through the experience of the newspaper staff.

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