Cold weather can be dangerous. Many people don’t realize how quickly cold weather can lower their body temperature, until it actually happens. Some people also don’t know how to properly dress so that they retain as much body heat as possible when going outside. Dressing properly can go a long way in preventing hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia can be fatal and frostbite can result in the loss of limbs. Hypothermia can cause stiff joints, slurred speech, mental confusion, shivering, slow pulse, and a loss of coordination. It can eventually kill, especially if you get wet when you have hypothermia, which could result in a coma.
If you are stuck in cold weather, cover yourself with anything you can find to conserve body heat. Paper, pillows, jackets, and blankets can be useful. Make covering your head a priority since most heat is lost there. If you are wet, immediately strip because it’s better to be naked than wet. If you’re going out, dress in layers. Wear multiple long-sleeved shirts, heavy coats, maybe even long underwear beneath your jeans. Always wear some sort of warm hat as well. Make sure your clothes are loose and not clingy.
If you get into a car accident when it’s extremely cold – maybe even snowing – outside, there are things you have to do as well. First, don’t panic. If you have extra clothes, put them on immediately so you can layer. If your car runs, make sure the tailpipe is clear and then turn on the heater. Let it run for 15 minutes at a time and then wait 30 minutes to preserve gas. Do not leave the vehicle. If you happen to have garbage bags, cut holes in them for your limbs and wear them over your clothes so you retain body heat.
You can never be too careful in the cold. It’s far better to be hot and able to take off a shirt and jacket than it is to be caught without proper protection.
Here are links to sites with information about cold weather, its effects, and how to avoid getting sick.
- Cold Weather Tips: Provides tips about what to wear in cold weather.
- Winter Weather: Discusses cold weather in general.
- Outdoor Actions: Explains how the body responds to cold and what to do if the body starts to shut down.
- Hypothermia: A Cold Weather Hazard: Shows how to identify hypothermia.
- Cold Weather and Cardiovascular Disease: Explains the danger that those who have heart disease face in cold weather.
- Cold Weather Protection: Provides more tips on staying warm in cold weather.
- Keeping Warm: A look at keeping warm in the cold weather.
- Hot and Cold Weather Tips: (PDF Document) Mentions tips for survival in certain types of weather.
- Getting Caught in the Cold: (PDF Document) Explains what to do when caught in the cold.
- Cold Weather Preparedness Tips: Provides more tips for surviving cold weather.
- Cold Weather Injury: Discusses what to do about cold weather injuries.
- Frostbite: Explains how frostbite occurs.
- Hypothermia: A look at the symptoms of hypothermia.
- Frostbite Effects: Discusses the effects of frostbite.
- Cold Weather Issues: Outlines the major issues that cold water presents.