Saturday, Dec 01 2012, 12:00
Very cold temperatures can be hazardous to your health. Proper dress and some sensible practices can prevent a lot of the problems associated with cold weather. In addition, knowing the symptoms of danger and how to treat them can keep problems that do occur from becoming disasters.
Protection Against Hazards
The best way to deal with cold problems is to prevent them in the first place. The most sensible approach is to limit exposure to cold, especially if it’s windy or damp. If you know you’re going to be in cold conditions, don’t bathe, smoke, or drink alcohol just before going out.
- Dress for conditions in layers of dry clothes. Build breathable (cotton, wool) clothing layers to include thermal underwear, undershirts, tracksuits, sweaters, snowsuits, winter boots, hats, mittens and scarves.
- Cover exposed skin. A hat is critical because you can lose up to 40 percent of your body heat if your head isn’t covered. Exposed skin can become frostbitten in as little as 30 seconds, always cover exposed skin especially when the wind is a factor.
- Keep moving when you’re in the cold. Try to limit the time sitting. Stand up and move around to allow circulation to better reach all body parts.
- Take regular breaks in warm areas. Go where it’s warm any time you start to feel very cold or numb. Drink something warm, as long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or caffeine.
This is a term used to describe when the body’s internal temperature becomes too cool. It is a result of being exposed to temperatures that are too cold for too long a period of time. It is a condition that can be hazardous to your health and even life threatening. Signs of hypothermia include:
- Confusion or sleepiness
- Slurred speech or shallow breathing
- Weak pulse or low blood pressure
- Poor control over body movements or slow reactions
In all instances, try to warm the person up by going to a warm, dry place, removing clothing, wrapping them in blankets, having them consume warm non-alcoholic drinks and seek medical attention.