The coldest months of the year are just around the corner. Learn how to fight off some of the risks associated with winter's chill.
Don't underestimate cold weather
Check both the temperature and the wind chill before heading outdoors. Wind chill indicates how the air feels on your skin. It can vary dramatically from the actual temperature. Low wind chills and cold temperatures can have dangerous effects on your body, such as frostbite and hypothermia.
- Frostbite occurs when parts of your body freeze from prolonged exposure to the cold. Warning signs include: numbness and skin that's white or grayish-yellow and unusually firm or waxy.
- Hypothermia sets in when your body is losing heat faster than it can produce it. There are several stages of hypothermia, but common symptoms include: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness.
Victims with frostbite or hypothermia should receive immediate medical attention. For more information on how to respond, review these tips from the American Red Cross.
If you must venture outside, layer up! Wear wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers and a tightly woven or wind-resistant outer layer. Finish off with the essentials: a hat, water-resistant boots, and gloves or mittens. Remove layers as you warm up—sweat can aid in heat loss.
Even if you live in a climate where winters aren't extreme, you should still take precautions against colder temperatures. Have your furnace inspected so it will operate safely and smoothly if a cold front blows through. And don't forget about the risk of fog when warm daytime air meets cooler nighttime temperatures. Make sure to brush up on tips for driving in foggy weather.
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