The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reminds people to plan ahead to prevent cold-weather related health problems.
Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. Visitors from warm climates may be more sensitive to the cold and should factor in any sensitivity in deciding how to dress for outdoor events.
Tips for dressing for cold weather:
· Warm hats: All ages are likely to need warm hats, water-resistant coats, scarves or knit masks to cover the face and mouth, and gloves or mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
· Layer up: Perspiration can increase heat loss, and wet clothing can chill the body rapidly. To prevent cold-related health problems, dress in layers of loose-fitting clothes, including extra socks, which can be removed as they become damp.
· Inner layer: HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold in more body heat than cotton.
· Outer layer: Be sure your outer layer of clothing is tightly knitted, or wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind.
· Stay dry: Because wet weather is possible, water-resistant or waterproof outerwear is advisable to reduce the risk of hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature). Hypothermia can occur in chilly weather, and if a person becomes chilled by rain.
· Warm, comfortable shoes: Events may require walking long distances and standing for long periods of time, so people are advised to wear warm, comfortable shoes.
Mind what you eat and drink, as well:
· Balanced meals: Eating well-balanced meals will help people stay warmer.
· Drinking to stay warm: Alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can cause the body to lose heat more rapidly. Warm, sweet beverages or broth can help maintain body temperature.
· Stay hydrated: As people walk, it is important to remain hydrated by drinking water and other non-caffeinated beverages.
Tips for taking care of your medical needs:
· Bring enough medicine: People who are on medications should bring enough medicine for the duration of their visit. Additionally, visitors who are away from their hotels and accommodations for many hours and should carry any necessary medications with them.
· Be prepared for potential emergencies: People also are encouraged to talk with their doctors about how best to access their medical records when away from home in case an emergency occurs and the records are needed for treatment.
· Avoid overexertion: Cold weather can put an extra strain on the heart and lungs, so people with heart disease, high blood pressure or lung conditions should talk with their doctors about and before exerting themselves in the cold.
· Practice good hygiene: As a rule, to avoid illness people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use antibacterial products.
For more information on cold weather and avoiding hypothermia and frostbite, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html