5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

By Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG

 

Lucky us, it’s that time of year again! A time when the sun and warmth of summer feel like they are a million miles away and cold and ice cover all signs of life. And just when your winter funk is at its peak and you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the dead of winter brings dangerously cold temperatures. We are talking the types of temperatures that can cause serious illness and even kill you. So, check out these five things that you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe even in the most extreme winter cold and be sure to share!

1). Leave no skin exposed.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

Did you know that exposed skin can freeze in as little as 5 minutes? Yup, depending upon the temperature and wind chill, skin exposed to the cold can become frostbitten within minutes and many of the changes associated with frostbite are permanent including limb loss in the most severe cases. So, make sure that all of your skin is covered. That means socks, boots, long clothes, long undies, gloves, scarf, hat, and even a facemask.

 

2). Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

People always associate warm weather with a risk for dehydration but cold weather also puts you at risk for dehydration. Not only does bundling up in all of those warm layers we just told you to wear cause increased sweating but as your body attempts to conserve heat it shifts more blood flow to the core, increasing blood flow to the kidneys causing you to lose more fluid through increased urination. So, like we always say, be sure to drink at least 72-80 ounces of water every day even in the dead of winter.

 

3). Dress as though you may be stranded.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

The only thing worse than being stranded is being stranded when it is freezing cold outside. So, regardless of how short your journey is or if you are driving directly to your destination, be sure to still dress so that all skin is covered or be sure to at least have the necessary clothing to cover exposed skin should you become stuck in the elements.

 

 

4). Keep a cold weather safety kit in the car.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

While we are talking about getting stranded in the elements, it is crucial to make sure that your car is also prepared for an unexpectedly long stay in the extreme cold. Make sure that you always have a blanket, flares, a phone charger, a shovel, rock ice, an ice scraper, extra windshield wiping fluid, gas, a few bottles of water and a few high-calorie food items in your car at all times. These items are designed to prevent becoming stranded but if being stranded is unavoidable you can best prevent the most common causes of death, starvation and cold exposure.

 

 

5). Eat and drink for the cold.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself in Extreme Cold

When it is cold outside, your body has to work a little harder to keep it’s core temperature up. To compensate for this, add a few more calories to your diet, within reason of course. This doesn’t mean eating everything in sight, instead, you should eat an extra 100-150 calories per day. And, be sure to avoid alcohol and warm beverages. These will artificially make your body feel warmer which prompts people to not dress appropriately for the weather. So what should you eat more of?

  • Ginger: Ginger is thermogenic (creates heat) and it increases metabolism which also keeps your body nice and warm.
  • Sesame seeds: These little buggers are also thermogenic, keeping the body warm, while also providing a nice source of calcium and iron, keeping bones healthy and preventing anemia.
  • Honey: Honey increases blood flow, which keeps the body nice and warm while also boosting the immune system.

 

Okay folk, there you have it. Be sure to stay warm and healthy this winter season and be sure to share this with your friends and loved ones!

 

While you’re at it, check out our tips for keeping your skin nice and healthy during winter weather RIGHT HERE!

 

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