How To Prevent Frostbite This Winter
Frostbite occurs when the skin and its lower layers freeze, and it is easier to contract than many people are aware. In situations of extreme cold or wind chill, frostbite can affect exposed skin in about 30 minutes. It can also happen if you touch a cold metal or liquid without the proper cold-weather protection. If you do contract frostbite be sure to exercise proper first aid protocols such as checking for hypothermia in order to prevent the situation from worsening. Soak hands and feet in warm water in order to slowly bring them back to room temperature without causing a shock which can occur if care is not taken immediately after exposure. Read on to learn how to prevent frostbite this winter.
Avoiding extreme temperatures and intense wind situations is the best way to protect yourself from frostbite. Air temperatures and wind chill factors are not the only weather that you need to pay attention to, as any moisture in the air, whether rain or snow, can exacerbate the coldness and increase the chances of contracting frostbite. If you are going to be out of doors during very cold weather, no matter how long the duration, be sure to dress properly and cover all extremities.
Clothing should be loose and in layers, allowing you to make adjustments as necessary. Be sure that your outerwear is wind and waterproof in addition to being warm. Base layers should never be of cotton, but of a wicking fabric that will help to prevent moisture from touching the skin which can cause further coldness. When you get inside be sure to immediately remove any clothing that has become wet or damp and warm yourself with warm and dry clothes. Hats should cover your entire head and a ski mask, balaclava or kerchief can be used to cover and protect the face.
Refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages as they can contribute to your body losing heat more quickly and can also impair your judgment of how cold it really is. Be sure to carry any necessary emergency equipment with you along with a change of clothes in case yours get wet and additional layers that may be needed. If you are planning to be outside in cold weather for an extended period of time be sure to eat beforehand, as having a full stomach can help to keep you warmer. Hot and sweet beverages, such as hot chocolate are also effective in keeping the body warm.
Frostbite is a serious medical issue and should be prevented whenever possible especially in the infirm and elderly. By taking the above precautions you can reduce the likelihood of contracting frostbite, but staying indoors and avoiding severely cold weather is often the best bet. Remember to remove all wet clothes when you get indoors and slowly bring your extremities up to room temperature by soaking them in warm water. Winter can be an enjoyable season, no matter the weather, as long as you are properly prepared to face the elements.