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How dangerous is cold weather?

We can all laugh about the crazy weather in Ireland – and the running ‘four seasons in one day’ joke we’ve all heard a million times before when the weather can’t decide what it should be doing. But cold weather can be pretty dangerous, for our bodies and minds, as well as our homes and cars so it’s important to pay attention to some warning signs, or you might really be caught out in the cold.

Cold weather effect on health

When cold weather is on the way it’s essential that you protect yourself from these bitter conditions. Cold weather can drastically affect your heart and your health, and it’s very important for people who suffer from heart conditions, elderly people and children, to keep warm by staying indoors with the heating on or if you have to go outside by wrapping up with warm layers. Hypothermia is caused when your body temperature has fallen below 35oC and when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep you warm, and it can kill. Signs of hypothermia include confusion, changes to breathing, lack of concentration and in severe cases can render a person unconscious. Be aware of these signs and seek immediate medical assistance if you think someone has hypothermia.

Cold weather effect on mood

It’s no surprise that hot sunny days bring out the best in us, after all – we rarely get to see them in Ireland! We’re most used to drizzle and gloomy clouds and that’s where a period of bad weather can really start to impact on our mood. SAD syndrome (seasonal affective disorder) is a type of depression that is linked to a seasonal pattern. The theory behind this is that a lack of sunlight can reduce the amount of serotonin produced, which is the hormone linked to mood, appetite and sleep. Symptoms can include feeling irritable, lethargic, having a low mood and sleeping for longer.

Cold weather effect on homes

The cold weather can also play havoc with our homes too. When the mercury drops our first instinct is to turn the heating up, so make sure your home heating oil is topped up to cope with any cold weather on the way in Ireland. Severe frost and snow can damage our properties too, and it’s important to check regularly in periods of cold weather to prevent any small issues turning into major (expensive!) repairs.