Frostbite and Cold Weather Tips for Staying Healthy and Warm

How to stay warm in the cold this winter

Some states are experiencing some rather cold weather which makes now the perfect time to remember the threats of the cold and how to stay healthy and warm. Frostbite can be serious, especially if exposed to bare skin. What tips should be known for staying warm? First, it is important to know the possibilities.

Extreme cold is something to be cautious of. When bare skin is exposed to the cold it is most likely to suffer from frostbite or worse. Young children and older folks are most at risk in the cold. Those with heart failure or heart disease are most likely to have trouble in the cold. If you or your child have asthma make sure an inhaler is always close. Someone healthy and in their twenties has much less to worry about, but should still dress warm and bundle up. Even if it doesn’t look very cold outside be sure to account for the wind, wind chills can be very dangerous. Check the forecast if you are worried.

Most common dangers of cold weather include hypothermia, colds, and frostbite. All can be treated and prevented. If snow gets into the shoe or boot it is important to warm the extremities to avoid damage to the tissue. Frostbite can occur in less than an hour if the wind is cold enough, try to stay dry and carry extra socks if necessary. Trench foot is similar to frostbite but takes a few weeks to heal and is usually more severe. Hypothermia has a number of signs to keep an eye out for. If you are worried about hypothermia keep pay attention for these signs:

  • Slurred Speech
  • Severe Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Coordination

Frostbite occurs when the outer tissues and skin become frozen. Most important parts to shield from frostbite are extremities such as toes, fingers, ears and nose. Some signs of frostbite include numbness, extremities becoming gray pale. If one is worried frostbite has already settled in here are a few tips to follow for warming up. Start by getting out of the cold and stay dry. Apply warm washcloths to area likely to have frostbite, do not use a heating pad. Having something warm to drink helps and stay covered and dry.

Frostbite can be dangerous
Toes ravaged by frostbite

Depending on your location the cold can be scary, but if proper precautions are taken everything should be fine. Remember to stay warm, stay dry, protect bare exposed skin, know what the weather will be like, and of course stay hydrated. Most people forget that our bodies make heat and water is one of the most important ingredients in keeping that function optimal.

The cold weather brings with it concerns such as frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot. Remember to follow these simple tips. Stay warm, stay dry, stay hydrated. It also helps to know the forecast and know the signs for spotting these concerns. Winter does not have to be a sad season, it can still be enjoyed with family and friends to the fullest, but remember to stay warm and healthy.


By Garrett Jutte


M Live

CBS Pitssburgh

Indiana State Department of Health

Sport & Spine Therapy of Marin

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