We are all tired of old man winter. Unfortunately, he isn’t done with us yet. We are still at risk for cold weather emergencies such as frost nip, frost bite & hypothermia. The following information may help to keep you safe in the cold weather.
- Check thetemperature before venturing outdoors. Factor in the wind chill. If weather & temperatures are extreme, postpone travel & outdoor activities.
- If you work outdoors or enjoy outdoor recreation, it will be worth your while to invest in good quality outdoor gear/clothing. In the cold weather, it is best to wear layers of clothing:
- Start with a thin layer of clothes. Silk, polyester & nylon fabrics are best next to your skin as they wick moisture away from the skin & keep you warmer. AVOID COTTON. Cotton underwear, long johns & clothes keep moisture, like sweat, next to your skin. If your skin is wet, you are at risk for a cold weather emergency.
- Next add a layer of clothes made of tightly woven fibres, such as wool or synthetics/fleeces (which trap air against your body).
- Your outside layer should be wind & water proof or resistant.
- If you have been sweating or your clothes get wet, change into dry clothes immediately.
- Don’t wear socks made of cotton. Socks made of wool or synthetic fibres are best for warmth. Don’t layer socks. If they are tight on your feet, circulation may be poor & frost bite may occur.
- Cover your head & trunk/body as you lose most of your heat from these areas.
- Cover vulnerable areas such as ears, nose & fingers. Don’t wear gloves that are tight. Mittens keep you warmer than gloves.
- Wear appropriate foot wear/boots & water proof them.
- Take frequent breaks from the cold. As soon as you start shivering, or if your fingers start tingling & go numb, get out of the cold & warm up.
- Stay hydrated. Drink warm fluids or water. Avoid caffeine & alcohol as they cause dehydration. When dehydrated, your body can not control its temperature.
- When venturing into the wilderness to winter camp, hike, ski or skidoo; let someone know where you are going & when you plan to return. Take a cell phone, small survival/first aid kit & matches/lighter with you.
- Keep a pair of gloves, a hat & warm boots in your vehicle in case of a breakdown or accident.
- Pack a warm blanket, sleeping bag or ski suit in your vehicle if planning a road trip.
It is no fun being cold. In fact it can be fatal. Don’t take chances, be prepared & dress for the weather.
While injury prevention is best, it is also important to learn first aid for cold weather emergencies. Register for one of our first aid classes: http://www.go-getters.ca/first-aid-course-da/