St. Luke’s Care Now offers the following advice:
- As temperatures and wind chills drop below freezing and approach the teens, single digits and below zero, be sure to protect exposed parts of the body such as ears, nose fingers and toes.
- Mittens are more effective than gloves for keeping your fingers and hands warm.
- Keep skin dry; change any wet clothing as soon as possible.
- Stay out of the wind when possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases blood volume which helps prevent frostbite. However, it’s best to avoid caffeine. It constricts blood vessels and decreases circulation in the hands and feet.
- Avoid alcohol. It reduces shivering, which is one of the body’s ways to keep warm.
- Avoid cigarette smoking in extreme cold. Blood supply to your hands is greatly decreased when you smoke.
When you can, stay in when temperatures plunge. Enjoy a cup of cocoa by a warm fireplace.