Often, a drop in weather or an increase in cold northern winds accompanies snowstorms. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself safe and avoid frostbite and hypothermia this winter.
According to the American Red Cross, following these safety tips will help keep you safe in cold weather:
• If you can, avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day. During extremely cold conditions, avoid being outside for extended periods of time. Snow removal from your driveway and walks is not so urgent that you need to risk your health. Trust me, the snow and ice will wait and will still be there for you when the temperature warms up a few degrees or the wind dies down. If you must be out in the cold, take frequent breaks to warm up and stay hydrated.
• Dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions. Even when the temperature reading isn’t that low, wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions and those winds can cause frostbite much more quickly than you think.
o Fabrics that are not only warm but that also cut the wind are ideal for your outerwear and will help reduce the loss of body heat due to the wind. Inner layers made of wool, silk or polypropylene will keep you warmer than cotton.
o Dress in layers of loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothes so that you can adjust to changing conditions.
o Since most of your body heat is lost through your head, be sure to wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears to protect them from frostbite.
o Wear windproof/waterproof mittens. Mittens provide more warmth than gloves and you’ll be glad to have a pair that cuts the wind as you push the snowblower or shovel.
o Wear insulated, waterproof boots to help you keep your footing in ice and snow. Since fingers and toes are the most prone to frostbite, keeping your feet warm is extremely important.
• Once you are done clearing the snow, change out of your wet clothes as soon as possible and warm up with a blanket or warm fluids like soup, hot cider or hot chocolate.
There is no need to take chances with your personal safety. Follow the above tips and stay safe and free of frostbite and hypothermia when clearing the snow from your property this winter. Want to know my own personal tip? Hire a snow plowing service and then you don’t ever have to worry about getting out to clear the snow yourself and risk being out in the cold!
Resource: American Red Cross of Central Illinois