With much of the country feeling the effects of cold Arctic air, frostbite is a concern. The condition, which is caused by exposure to cold temperatures, can be dangerous. Here are some tips to protect yourself if you need to go outdoors in extreme cold.
Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors in cold, wet, or windy weather. Check local weather forecasts and wind chill readings. Exposed skin can develop frostbite in minutes in cold and windy conditions.
If you go outdoors, wear several layers of loose, warm clothing. Air trapped between the layers can insulate your body against the cold. Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments and undergarments that wick moisture away from your skin. If your clothing gets wet, change out of it as soon as possible.
Wear a hat or headband that completely covers your ears. Heavy woolen or windproof materials offer the best protection.
Mittens offer better protection against the cold than gloves. You can also wear a pair of glove liners made from a wicking material like polypropylene under a pair of gloves or mittens.
Wear socks and sock liners that fit well, wick moisture away from your skin, and provide insulation. You can also try hand and foot warmers, but make sure they do not make your boots too tight and restrict blood flow.
Check your skin for signs of frostbite, including redness or paleness, prickling, and numbness.
If you are traveling in cold weather, take along emergency supplies and warm clothing in case you get stranded. If you will be in a remote area, tell others your travel plans and when you expect to return.
Do not drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather because alcohol can make your body lose heat faster.
Eat well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water before you go out in the cold. This will help you stay warm. If you get cold, warm, sweet beverages such as hot chocolate can warm you up.
Exercising can get your blood flowing and keep you warm, but don’t exercise to the point that you become exhausted.