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Winter health myths vs facts

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Dr. Zakroff said it's important to wear warm layers from head to toe. Dr. Zakroff said it's important to wear warm layers from head to toe.
As the winter months drag on and you bundle up to go outside, some say a hat is necessary since many think most of your body heat escapes through your head. But according to Dr. Sandra Zakroff with Saint Francis Medical Center, that is fiction. As the winter months drag on and you bundle up to go outside, some say a hat is necessary since many think most of your body heat escapes through your head. But according to Dr. Sandra Zakroff with Saint Francis Medical Center, that is fiction.
Vitamin C helps prevent a cold. This one can actually be fact and fiction, depending on how you look at it. Vitamin C helps prevent a cold. This one can actually be fact and fiction, depending on how you look at it.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You know the winter health warnings or do you?

As the winter months drag on and you bundle up to go outside, some say a hat is necessary since many think most of your body heat escapes through your head. But according to Dr. Sandra Zakroff with Saint Francis Medical Center, that is fiction.

Zakroff said in the original study, volunteers went outside all bundled up except on their head, so naturally that's where the heat escaped.

"It will escape from wherever you're not covered up," said Zakroff.

Zakroff said it's important to wear warm layers from head to toe.

Another popular health tip: Vitamin C helps prevent a cold. This one can actually be fact and fiction, depending on how you look at it.

Zakroff said if you take Vitamin C year round, on average, it will reduce the number of days you're sick in a year by one day for adults and four days for children.

"And that's if they're taking their vitamin C every day, if you start getting cold symptoms and you start taking vitamin C, didn't make any difference," said Zakroff.

Health experts recommend 75 milligrams for women, and 90 milligrams for men each day to maintain a healthy immune system.

An entire orange is about 70 milligrams.

If you're a smoker, they said you need more than that recommended amount.

You can find Vitamin C in citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and strawberries.

If you're feeling down, many people say you can get winter depression from lack of sunlight.

Zakroff said this is fact. She said one study shows as people were exposed to sunlight, their Serotonin levels went up 8 fold. Serotonin helps regulated our mood.

"The suggestion is on sunny days you try to get outside, for 20-30 minutes, and try to expose yourself to sunlight," said Zakroff.

Zakroff said there are even special lights you can buy to help with winter depression, but said tanning beds are not on the list.

And finally, if you feel like you're always sick in the winter, that's because cold weather can make you sick, right? Nope, that's fiction.

Experts say cold temperatures don't contribute to your illness, instead they say the opposite is true. Cells that fight infection in the body actually increase as you go into the cold.

"The reason people are sick more in the wintertime is because we're all closed in together, children are in school, they're exposed to each other and they bring the germs home to us, so being out in the cold does not make you sick," said Zakroff.

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