When temperatures drop dangerously, there are many simple safeguards you can take to prevent severe injury, like frostbite or hypothermia:
- Dress warmly. Layering your clothing will provide the best insulation and retain body heat. Wearing a non-permeable outer layer will minimize the effects of strong winds.
- Protect your extremities. Hands and feet are at greater risk of frostbite because body heat is naturally reserved in the torso to protect vital organs. So wear an extra pair of socks, and choose mittens instead of gloves because fingers stay warmer when next to each other.
- Wear a hat. You lose about 30 percent of your body’s heat from your head. Particularly good are hats that cover the ears and nose.
- Wear properly fitted winter boots. Boots that are too tight can limit or cut off circulation to the feet and toes. Also, choose a boot that’s insulated and has treads on the bottom because treads provide traction on ice and snow.
- Stay hydrated. The body uses a lot of energy to keep itself warm. Drinking plenty of fluids is important because your body will need frequent replenishing when fighting off the cold.
- Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
For more on protecting yourself in the cold, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.