Canadian Winter

For those of us who have, well, weathered one or many past Canadian winters, we pretty much know what to expect and how to prepare.

While every Canadian winter is different in some ways, some aspects are also quite reliable—bitter cold, freezing rain, sleet, and ice, and in many areas, heaps of snow.

Some of those around us are experiencing a Canadian winter for the first time ever. If this describes you, and especially if you have moved here from a tropical or temperate climate, you may be wondering or even worried about what will unfold in the months to come.

Winter can be an amazing season here in Canada: there are so many outdoor sports to enjoy and the snowy beauty at its best has few equals to what we have here.

But winter can also be when we are especially vulnerable to germs, holiday stress, and a host of uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms. In this post, we review our favorite tips for not just surviving, but thriving during your very first Canadian winter.


Why is “humidify” our first tip? Because maintaining balanced indoor air humidity levels is key to giving your immune system every advantage over seasonal cold and flu germs.

For many people, winter is a time of extreme dryness. This can get pretty uncomfortable at times, leading to cracked lips, peeling skin, sore throats, dry eyes, and nosebleeds, among other symptoms.

With less than about 30 percent humidity in the air, your body doesn’t produce enough mucus moisture to trap and escort germ invaders out of your body. Instead, they make themselves at home in your respiratory passages until the first telltale throat tickle or dry cough alerts you to their presence.

By adding more moisture to your indoor air, you can help your respiratory passages and tissues fight back against these invaders. There are two good ways to do this:

1. Use a portable humidifier. A portable humidifier can come in very handy if you are the only one in your household or workplace who needs a bit of extra humidity. This portable unit will add moisture back into a smaller space like a bedroom or office.

2. Install a whole-home humidifier. A whole-home humidifier is a great solution to add back moisture to your whole home and keep indoor air humidity percentages where you need them to be all winter long.

Vitamin D

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition caused by too little vitamin D production. The reason SAD normally affects people more in the winter is the lack of sunlight: the days get much shorter and/or typically less sunny, and sometimes winter storms keep people indoors for days on end.

Even if you go outside for a walk or lunch, or roll your windows down when you drive during good weather, you probably still won’t come close to taking in enough natural ultraviolet light to help your body manufacture the vitamin D it needs to stay healthy.

If you notice you are starting to feel more down or depressed, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything in your life is going wrong! It can just mean you aren’t taking in enough sunlight.

Taking a vitamin D supplement can help here (talk to your doctor first about dosage). Using a SAD lamp can also help by exposing you to artificially generated “sunlight” to help boost your body’s production of Vitamin D.

Layer Up

It can be easy enough to spot Canadian winter first-timers by what they are wearing… or rather, what they aren’t wearing.

These winters can be bone-chilling if you don’t know how to dress to stay warm. The key here is layers so you can add or remove a layer as your body temperature adjusts indoors or outdoors.

You also want to make sure you wear insulated, waterproof footwear and keep your head and hands covered to maximize your body’s internal heating mechanisms.

Composite fabrics stay dryer during wet winter days and also make layering feel less bulky. Long underwear can be a great friend especially during Canada’s winter weather extremes.

Breathe Clean Air

There is no doubt that, as usual, more germs will be circulating this winter than at any other time of the year.

The combination of cold temperatures, holiday stress, end-of-year work deadlines, ill family members, and a more indoorcentric lifestyle conspires to keep us breathing out our germs and breathing in the germs of others.

But there is a way to greatly reduce your risk of succumbing to what everyone else already seems to have. It is called indoor air quality.

One of the best ways to keep your air clean at work is to invest in a portable air purifier or portable HEPA air filtration unit. These affordable units are sized for small spaces.

At home, you have an even greater range of options to improve the air quality in your home. This way, even if one family member does fall ill, you can reduce the risk that the whole family will soon follow.

Having your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned gets your winter season off on the right foot by removing every speck of trapped debris, dirt, pollen, allergens, and germs in your duct system.

From here, a whole home HEPA air filtration system or a whole home U.V. purification system will make sure incoming germs don’t get past the front door.

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