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These Simple Precautions Can Protect You From Frostbites

Wearing the right clothes, shoes, head covers, mittens, carrying a water bottle and acting early can protect you from frostbites.

  • 22 Jan 2019
  • 3 min read

Following a simple list of precautionary measures can protect you from frostbites

The mere thought of running and playing in the snow promises childlike fun. The snow-clad landscape, snowy peaks, frozen water droplets hanging from twigs, frozen lakes - there are enough elements to bring a smile on even the grumpiest face! However, the freezing cold can also get dangerous, especially if you’re not adequately protected.

Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can freeze the skin and underlying tissue of your extremities - primarily your toes and fingers. This happens due to your blood vessels constricting, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the concerned area. Here is a list of simple precautions that can protect you from frostbite.

1.     Wear layered clothing

The best way to beat the cold is by wearing suitable clothes. While going out in the snow, follow a thumb rule of wearing slightly loose, layered clothes. Layered clothing helps by trapping warm air and prevents your skin and tissue from freezing.

It is best to keep the first layer synthetic that does not allow moisture to settle down. You can wear an undergarment that helps in pulling moisture away. The second layer should be made of wool or fleece or any other insulating material so that a considerable amount of body heat can be trapped. The outer layer should act as cover for the inner layers against wind and water. Ski pants and down jackets can be a good choice.

2.     Protecting toes

It is not uncommon to feel numbness in your toes while walking in the snow. However, it is a precursor to frostbite. While the core of your body is most likely to be warm, it is your extremities that heat finds most difficult to reach.

The key to protecting your feet is similar to protecting your body, layered clothing. The first pair should be hydrophilic and wick moisture away from your skin. The next pair should be made of wool or wool blend. Your shoes are equally important! Your shoe should be made of insulating material and even cover your ankles. Ensure that your clothing and shoes are comfy and waterproof.

3.     Protecting head and hands

Your nose, ears and fingers are equally prone to frost bites and needs protection. Before venturing out do not forget to wear a heavy wool or fleece hat to protect your head and ears. With freezing temperatures and piercing winds, it’s advisable to wear a face mask. The face mask also warms up the air as you breathe in. When it comes to your fingers, mittens can give the best protection.

If you prefer wearing gloves, do not forget to slip in a pair of thin moisture wicking glove liner underneath your outer pair.

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4.     Water is vital

It is not for nothing that people say ‘water is life’. Becoming dehydrated dramatically increases the chances of frostbite. So, the solution is to keep drinking water at regular intervals. Before you head out, you should drink at least a glass of water, irrespective of whether or not you are thirsty. Avoid alcohol however, as it increases the risk of frostbite.

5.     Act early

You have often heard the maxim ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. The same holds true in case of frostbites. The earlier you detect and act, the easier it is to treat the affected area and prevent matters from escalating.

It is important to recognise frostbite symptoms in order to act in time. The first signs of frostbite include redness followed by prickling, burning or throbbing sensation. This is usually followed by numbness. If you experience these conditions, it is best to go to a warm place.

After you are indoors, submerge the affected area in warm water or use a warm washcloth. However, if these methods fail in bringing back sensations, or if the affected area starts turning grey, it is time to rush immediately to the emergency ward.

Along with all the necessary precautions, do not forget to procure a travel insurance policy. Travel insurance can cushion you from financial impacts arising from emergencies, especially medical emergencies in the travel period.

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