For many of us, winter is a welcome escape from the hot, humid summer, but just as we have heat mitigation plans in place for summertime, we should take proper precautions in the cold temperatures. Cold weather presents some serious risks, such as frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is the freezing of body parts exposed to the cold and can range from mild to severe, resulting in the destruction of body tissue. The parts of the body most at risk for frostbite are your nose, cheeks, ears, toes and fingers. Hypothermia is the loss of body heat due to prolonged exposure to the cold and is a life-threatening condition. You are more likely to rapidly lose body heat when your clothes are wet so you should always carry extra clothing if there is a possibility that you will get wet.
Here are a few tips from JLMCO to ensure you stay warm and don’t suffer the effects of frostbite or hypothermia!
- Wear the right clothing and layer it well. Synthetic fibers like fleece are often best in extreme conditions. These fibers tend to wick sweat away before it can grow cold against your body. Fleece and wool layering pieces keep you warm, so add these type layers in addition to your outer layers. Insulated coveralls are also a good investment if you’re going to be exposed to harsh temperatures for extended periods. Full kits are also available.
- Lock in the heat. Keep your head and neck well covered with a quality hat. Balaclavas and neck gaiters are a great way to block the cold and lock heat in too.
- Protect those fingers and toes! Choose appropriate gloves suited for the job and conditions. Gloves with a sting knit, lined gloves, and insulated waterproof gloves are great options depending on the winter conditions you're dealing with. Double layer your fleece or wool socks and wear insulated, waterproof boots when walking around or standing on cold surfaces.
- Wear wrap-around eye protection to help preserve body heat.
- Eat enough calories to give your body the fuel it needs to stay warm! This is your chance to indulge in high fat foods! Diet is always important to your health but it’s especially important when your body needs extra fuel to offset low temperatures. Be smart with your choices; high protein foods such as peanut butter and eggs will be more beneficial than foods like french fries and candy bars.
- Drink plenty of liquids. Cold and wind remove moisture from the air so you lose hydration just by breathing when you’re out in the cold. When possible, bring a thermos of something you will keep drinking and try to drink warm beverages instead of cold ones to help keep your body temperature up. Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty!
- Protect exposed skin from sun damage. While you may not expect sunburn in the winter, it’s always important to use sunscreen to protect yourself from skin cancer.
As always, in addition to these tips, stay safe! Safety should always be your number one priority! Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia and follow your company procedures if you experience any symptoms.