On the heels of 2011's record-breaking summer heat wave that saw oppressive temperatures and stifling humidity grip cities as far-flung as Wichita, Kansas (23 heat-related deaths reported) and Tokyo, Japan (35 heat-related deaths reported), anticipation across the U.S. for winter's sweet relief is palpable.
But demographically speaking, cold is a far bigger killer than heat. Although cancer (No. 2 on the list of leading causes of death in the United States) knows no season, the body's reaction to cold -- particularly among older men, the most susceptible to climatic change -- can increase the chances of blood clotting, which in turn leads to higher incidences of death from heart attacks and strokes (Nos. 1 and 3 on the list).
Similarly, the cold facilitates the transmission of respiratory diseases and ensures that they're more severe than strains contracted at other times of the year. And winter always arrives with its own set of natural obstacles in tow, including hazardous snowstorms, downed power lines and dangerously strong winds.
But cold doesn't have to be a killer; In Siberia and other perpetually-freezing locales, a well-informed citizenry bundles up when the mercury drops, takes extra precaution and, for the most part, avoids winding up on year-end 'deaths-due-to-winter' lists.
In that spirit, HP50 decided to share our list of the winter health risks you should know about and our tips to avoid calamity and illness during the season when their causes are most prevalent. Take notes, and don't let the cold kill you!