Tips for Dealing With Cold & Snow
Winter can be an invigorating and enjoyable season. It also can be
hazardous and unpredictable. Since winter weather conditions change
frequently and rapidly, it is a smart idea to be prepared.
Winter temperatures can be deceiving. Thermometers measure only the
cold. Don't forget that the effects upon your body are compounded by the
wind. The combined effect of winter cold and wind speed is called wind
chill. The dangerous effects of wind chill rise as the temperature drops
and the wind speed increases. Heat is carried away faster from the skin,
driving down body temperature. This can lead to frostbite or hypothermia.
Warning signs of hypothermia, or low body temperature, include:
To determine if a person has hypothermia, take his or her temperature.
If the body temperature is below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical
To avoid a chill, try to stay warm and dry. Layering clothing helps
prepare you for different conditions and activities. Use three essential
layers - underwear, insulation and outer shell - in different combinations
to maintain comfort through changes in weather and exertion levels.
Underwear: Provides basic insulation and moves moisture from
skin, preventing chill when activity stops. Choose long underwear or
thin, snug-fitting pants with a long-sleeved T-shirt or turtleneck.
Insulation: Use one or more layers, depending on conditions.
Sweaters, sweatshirts and other similar garments are good insulators.
Some newer insulating pieces also are suitable as an outer shell in
Outer Shell: Choose garments that are windproof and
preferably waterproof. Good fit is crucial. If the shell is too big,
heat loss can occur. If it is too small, there may not be enough room
for insulating layers.
Walks And Driveways
Treading a slick sidewalk or moving your car from a slippery driveway
can be dangerous. Accidental deaths most frequently occur in January when
an estimated 1,000 people die from falls outside the house.
Act Early: It's easier to remove snow immediately after a
snowfall before it becomes packed or turns to ice.
Keep Sidewalks Safe: Many ice melters can reduce the risk of
slips and falls and are more effective than items such as kitty litter
Clear a Wide Path: Clear more than a single shovel width to
make walking safer and easier.
Shoveling: This demands heavy physical exertion. The strain
can cause a heart attack. Sweating from over-exertion can lead to a
chill and hypothermia. If you must shovel, remember to take it slow,
lift small amounts (especially when snow is wet and heavy), and use
proper posture to prevent back strain.