December 12, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin
Cold injuries can occur whenever air temperature is below freezing (32 degrees F). Freezing of the skin surface is called ‘frost nip‘. When freezing extends deeper though the skin and flesh, the injury is called ‘frostbite‘.
Hypothermia is a life threatening condition in which deep-body temperature falls below 95°F (normally 98.6°F).
While you can get hypothermia even during relatively warm conditions, when temperatures plummet the danger and risk of getting frost nip, frostbite, or hypothermia becomes even greater – because it can come on much faster.
Tips to prevent hypothermia…
Body temperature falls when the body cannot produce heat as fast as it is being lost.
Heat Loss Through The Head
At rest, the body core loses about 7 percent of its heat through the head.
When exercising, the head will lose more body heat which can ramp up to 50 percent heat loss, but the heat loss percentage will then diminish when you start to sweat and when your muscles start demanding more blood flow.
When in hypothermia however (shivering), core body heat loss through the head increases to as much as 55 percent and remains at this high level.
Cold Injury and Hypothermia Prevention Tips
- Stay hydrated. A dehydrated body will slow blood circulation.
- Avoid smoking – nicotine will constrict the blood vessels.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine which can lead to dehydration.
- If cold, it is better to be active than to huddle up.
- Heat production is increased by physical activity, but avoid sweating.
- Don’t skip meals which will lead to slower metabolism and blood flow.
- Wear the right clothes the right way.
- Too much clothing can cause overheating and dehydration.
- Avoid tight fitting clothing.
- Clothes should be worn loose and in layers.
- Clothing should be made of material that water vapor can pass through.