Winter weather affects our health physically and mentally

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Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. - For some, winter weather can mean doom and gloom.

The cold, frosty temperatures and limited sunlight can cause ailments that are both physical and mental.

"We don't do as much activity when it's cold and dark outside, so we end up sitting around the house," said H Group social worker David Matthews.

Matthews says he treats seasonal depression regularly.

He says it's important to take responsibility for you health if you find yourself speaking or moving slowly, or being extra fidgety, if you have had a poor appetite or have been overeating, or if you thought about hurting yourself in anyway.

Many seek counseling for their winter blues.

In a mock session, Dr. Verletta Saxon showed Local 6 that one of the tell-tale signs of depression is fatigue or disinterest.

Matthews says the answer to beating the blues is simple...get moving.

"Try to engage in activities with other members of your family, or friends," said Matthews.

Dr. Paul Bennett says Old Man Winter can sneak up on us physically, too.

"Lots of colds, some flu, we're seeing some gastroenteritis," said Bennett.

Maintaining a regular exercise routine is crucial to staying healthy during the cold months.

"The best thing is good nutrition and plenty of sleep," said Bennett.

The doctors agree humans are creatures of habit and our health suffers when we veer off our daily schedules.

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