Here are a few cold-weather safety tips, courtesy of Dr. Matthew Bott, to help you and your family make it through the winter in one piece:
- Dress warmly, in lots of layers of clothes. Try long underwear beneath pants and a turtleneck underneath a sweater and coat. Not only will this keep your family warm, but if you get the top layer wet, you can peel it off to reach a dry layer.
- Avoid cotton clothing – it doesn't keep you as warm as wool, flannel or other "winter fabrics." Waterproof pants and jackets are excellent choices for a top layer because they don't let the wetness reach your other clothes.
- No matter what fabric you choose, or how many layers you pile on, no cold-weather ensemble is complete without warm socks, boots, gloves and a hat.
- Make sure to eat a snack before you go out. The calories will give your body energy to stay warm in the cold weather.
- Don't pack up your sunscreen when the pool closes for the summer. Snow can reflect up to 85% of the sun's ultraviolet rays. Make sure you lather on the protection year-round.
- Don't ignore the signs of frostbite. Frostbite occurs mostly on fingers, toes, ears, noses and cheeks. The area will become very cold and turn white or yellowish-gray. If you notice frostbite, go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Frostnip is an early warning sign of frostbite that leaves the skin white and numb. If you notice this, remove all wet clothing and immerse effected body parts in warm (not hot!) water until sensation returns. Never use hot water!