More Winter Weather Advice

More Advice for Winter Weather

If You Must Go Outside

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes the body to lose body heat more rapidly.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on the heart.
  • Dress warmly in loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat. Wear mittens instead of gloves.
  • Keep yourself and your clothes dry. Change wet socks and all other wet clothing as quickly as possible to prevent loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Overexertion can add risk to damaging your body.
  • Watch for frostbite and other symptoms of cold weather exposure. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, tip of nose, and ear lobes. The best treatment for frostbite is the rewarming of the affected tissue.

Treatment for Cold Weather Exposure

  • If a person shows signs of overexposure to cold or wet and windy weather, take the following steps even if the person claims to be in no difficulty. Often the person will not realize the seriousness of the situation.
  • Concentrate heat on the trunk of the body first. (The shoulders, chest, and stomach.)
  • Get the person into dry clothing and into a warm bed or sleeping bag with a "hot" water bottle (which should actually be only warm to the touch and not hot), a heating pad, or other source of heat.
  • Give the person warm drinks, hot chocolate, tea, or hot soup.
  • Keep the head low and the feet up to get warm blood circulating to the head.
  • Keep the person quiet. Do not jostle, massage, or rub.
  • Never give the person alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or pain relievers. Those drugs only slow down body processes.

If Trapped in Your Vehicle

  • Display a brightly colored cloth on the vehicle's radio antenna.
  • Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards. You may become disoriented and lost in the blowing and drifting snow. Being lost in open country during a blizzard is extremely dangerous.
  • Don't panic, stay in the car.
  • Exercise lightly by clapping hands and moving arms and legs occasionally. Avoid staying in one position too long.
  • Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.
  • Occasionally run the engine and heater for about ten minutes to keep warm.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.