Weekly Newsletter

Fall health and hydration tips

How should we shift our water consumption and skincare routines for optimum winter health? Learn how water can help us stay healthy or cause harm.
An overhead shot of the legs of a person wearing dark blue jeans and red rubber boots standing in the grass at the edge of still misty-blue water.

Anthropologist Loren Eiseley wrote, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

This time of year—as rain floods the northeast and seawater threatens New Orleans’ drinking supply—such poetic optimism can feel far-fetched. Water + fall magical aspirations aside, let’s explore what science says about swimming in cold water, why we should prep for winter skin now + what a new poll shows about Americans’ water intake.

Then, we'll close out with the healthcare news to know. So grab a glass + get ready to dive into the latest fall health tips via...

  • The Checkup: chills + challenges
  • You dew you: swim + skin + thirst
  • Healthcare: 🌎 + 😷 + striking for better

The Checkup

Take the (cold) plunge!

A white woman with long brown hair wearing a winter coat, hat, leggings and boots stands on a dock in the middle of winter, preparing to get into the water.

Before your next polar bear plunge, consider these benefits + risks:

Pros: A plunge into frigid water first releases stress hormones, and our sympathetic nervous system gives us a rush of energy + attention. Then, soothing neurotransmitters flood in, and our parasympathetic nervous system mellows us out. Some studies show this temporary elation can improve our overall mental health.

Cons: For some people, the contrasting response triggers hyperventilation, fatigue + confusion (called cold shock) that can contribute to drowning. Others experience an irregular heartbeat or severe cardiac issues—whether they're healthy or not. (Last year, a 39-year-old woman died when a plunge triggered an unknown heart condition.)

How we enter the water can affect our response. And some evidence shows that lowering our shower water temperature can improve our mental state, too. Head to The Washington Post for more tips + tricks.

If looks could chill

Portrait of beautiful young white woman looking at the camera wearing fa uschia wool scarf, taking a walk by the countryside in cold fall weather.

According to the New York Times, a colder shower temperature can help our complexion, too.

Our skin’s lipid barrier locks in hydration. But cooler weather makes it easier for moisture to dissipate, leaving us with dry, flaky skin and triggering psoriasis flares + eczema patches—which can develop in anyone. That's why we should shift our skincare routine now.

On top of showering in not-hot water, use fragrance-free soaps and apply simple moisturizers like Aquaphor, Cetaphil and CeraVe after every shower + whenever you feel dry. Humidifiers and gloves help, too. As does keeping our insides hydrated. (More on that below.)

If you’re already prone to problem skin + want to get ahead of winter flares, check out Dr. B’s $15 online dermatology care.

Thirst trap!

Two young girls white girls wearing hats and warm clothes picnic outside in a brown field during fall.

If you’re looking for tips for staying hydrated, knowing what not to do is a good place to start. And a new poll suggests we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to getting in our optimum daily glasses of water.

According to the poll, Gen Z’ers are drinking the least amount of water per day, averaging only four glasses. 70% of us say we'd drink more water if it tasted better. And 80% of us are already adding blueberry, strawberry and lime flavors to make that happen. Across (most) age groups, we’ve upped our intake of flavored water, soda + coffee these last two years. Experts warn against the rise of high-calorie and high-sugar drinks. Of those who drink unflavored water, flat water drinkers report feeling healthier + happier than sparkling water drinkers.

Read the poll for more fascinating observations. Or if you want to increase your hydration through the food you eat, head to Men’s Health for six dishes with high water contents that’ll help you get started.

(No, they’re not all fruits and vegetables. But they mostly are.)

Healthcare 411

Healthcare has a massive carbon footprint. These doctors are trying to change that (NPR). The US healthcare system accounts for 8.5% of our total carbon footprint. Some doctors are shifting that. They're encouraging reusable cafeteria + medical testing items, lowering equipment emissions + voluntarily getting certified in sustainable care. Read the article for how safety + sustainability can work together.

5 things Covid experts personally won’t do right now in this latest surge (HuffPost). Getting ahead of this cold, Covid and flu season, infectious disease experts offer five ways to mitigate Covid-19 risk. (On top of getting vaccinated.) 1) They mask in crowded spaces. 2) They take extra precautions on vacation. 3) They ask questions + make special requests in restaurants. 4) They don’t assume they’re Covid-free after one negative test. 5) They avoid infection because Covid-19 is unpredictable in its severity + duration. If you’re at high risk for severe illness + get Covid-19, remember that Dr. B offers same-day online Covid care!

Kaiser Permanente workers say deal unlikely to avert strike (Reuters). 75,000 healthcare workers may strike on Wednesday in the US's largest healthcare strike. Kaiser Permanente representatives claim they’ll avert the strike. But The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions says they’re not close to resolving the staffing crisis, pay increases + medical plan improvement they’d be striking for.

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