Hold on to your hats

Hold On to Your Hats

Back in the day, everyone used to wear a hat when outside, no exceptions. Ever since it fell out of fashion, you don’t see many people wearing hats on a regular basis. In reality, wearing a hat does a lot for your health!

In cold weather

While you may have heard that you lose a lot of heat from your head, this happens in adults and children, but for different reasons.

In adults, there isn’t much fat on your head for insulation. If you’ve done a good job of bundling up, putting on layers, warm shoes and gloves but left off the hat, you’ve set yourself up to lose up to 50% of your body heat. And, if your head isn’t covered in cold weather, the blood vessels in other parts of your body start to constrict which can make your hands and feet cold, even though you’re wearing mittens on your hands and warm socks and shoes. Adding a hat helps maintain all that warmth you’re creating with layers. You’ll stay warmer longer with a hat.

In children however, it’s a different story. “The head of an infant or toddler has a relatively large surface area compared to the rest of their body,” said Dr. Lance Jepson, Pediatrician at GraceMed’s Highland Clinic, “This makes it much easier for young children and infants to lose heat compared to older children and adults.” So even though you may have bundled your infant or toddler, they are at greater risk of hypothermia when they are in cold temperatures without a hat.

In warm weather

Hats in warm weather

Wearing a hat on hot, sunny days can help by improving your visibility. As Dr. Jacquelyn Smith, Optometrist at GraceMed’s Helen Galloway clinic explains, “UV light from the sun can have an effect on the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Wearing a hat with a brim can limit direct UV exposure to the eyes and can help keep them healthy for years to come.” The brim of a hat will reduce sun glare which, in turn, prevents eye strain. This allows you to see better on bright days and helps prevent cataracts

Hats are also useful for skin protection.  A large hat with a floppy brim can help keep the sun off your neck and face, reducing the chance of sunburn and skin damage. And, because the blood vessels in your head don’t constrict, when you wear a hat, you’ll be cooler than having the sun directly on you.

The same is true no matter what age. “With young infants and toddlers, it is best to remain out of the direct sunlight when possible; however, if an infant or toddler is in the sun, a wide-brimmed hat/floppy hat that provides shade to the head and neck is best,” said Dr. Jepson.

Fashion sense

Besides the health benefits of wearing a hat, hats have a way of making your outfit look polished. And hats go great with casual outfits too! Adding a hat to your wardrobe will give you a unique look and sense of style.

With all the benefits that wearing a hat brings, why not make it a habit to wear your hat all year long?