It’s winter now and that means the temperatures are dropping by the day. Spending too much time outside in the frigid cold can cause frostbite, a condition that can be quite dangerous. You could even lose fingers or toes if you don’t take action to prevent frostbite. If you spend time playing winter sports or you just can’t stand being stuck inside all day, you should know how to prevent getting frostbite so that you can enjoy your winter without any issues.
1. The Best Thing to do is Limit Your Time Outdoors
This probably goes without saying, but experts recommend limiting how much time you spend outdoors at one time. This is especially important if the temperature is really low or there is a wind chill factor. If you plan to be outside, check the weather forecast to be sure you know what to expect and are prepared.
2. Keep Your Head and Ears Completely Covered
You lose a lot of heat through your head and your ears are especially susceptible to frostbite. Whether you’re out for a run or are skiing the slopes, make sure you wear a warm hat or headband to keep your ears covered and warm. This is particularly important when the wind is blowing or it’s below 0 out there.
3. Wear Lots of Layers when You’re outside
Wearing several layers of clothing helps trap warm air against your body, warding off the conditions that can lead to frostbite. You want moisture wicking layers near your skin to keep you from being chilled if you sweat. On the outside, you need waterproof layers of clothing that will help keep you warm and dry.
4. Forgo Gloves in Favor of Mittens
Your fingers are one of the first places that may suffer from frostbite. Instead of gloves, wear mittens, which allow your fingers to warm each other and insulate your entire hand with the warmth put off by your fingers. If it’s really cold out there, consider waterproof gloves under your mittens for better protection.
5. Combine Socks with Sock Liners to Protect Your Toes
Socks and sock liners will insulate your feet and keep them warm. Again, you want moisture wicking fabrics in case your feet sweat. By combining the two items, your toes are better protected from the elements. Many people have lost toes due to frostbite so it really pays to take steps to keep yours warm and safe.
6. Avoid Alcohol in Favor of Warm Drinks
Most experts will tell you that alcohol before you go out in the cold is a bad idea. Instead, warm yourself from the inside out with hot cocoa or coffee. If you plan to be outside for some time, carry an insulated mug filled with additional hot beverages so you can drink while you’re out there too. Be sure to fuel your body with the right foods too, so that your body has the energy to stay protected.
7. Know the Signs of Frostbite so You Can Get inside Right Away
You’ve got to know what the symptoms of frostbite are so that you can watch out for them. If you notice any of these things happening, head inside and contact your doctor immediately. Red or pale skin, prickling and numbness are early warning signs that need attention. Staying active while you’re outside will improve circulation and help ward off frostbite.
What’s your favorite cold weather activity? How do you stay safe?