Keep Warm and Dry During Winter

From Issue: 
January 2017

Winter is in full swing across Canada, with the ice, slush and bone-chilling cold making themselves comfortable in the country for the next few months.

This, of course, means that you need to make yourself comfortable, too. Prolonged exposure to the cold can result in a myriad of issues including a common cold, frostbite, hypothermia and, in extreme cases, even death.

The easiest way to stay warm and dry is to bundle up. Dress warmly using multiple loose layers of clothing including sweaters, jackets and heavy shirts. Using a shirt made primarily of a dry, moisture-wicking material as the base layer will also help keep you dry and prevent you from getting unnecessary chills.

The next layer should be something heavier and heat retaining. Consider a wool sweater, for instance. The third layer should be wind- and water-resistant, to ensure that if you do get wet, it won’t soak through to the next layer.

Take extra time to dress appropriately before leaving your home. In addition to multiple layers of clothing, ensure that you are wearing a scarf, a toque that covers your head and ears, gloves, thick socks and warm, sturdy winter boots. The more clothing you have on your body, the less quickly you will lose body heat and the more comfortable you will be.

Pay extra attention to the conditions outdoors and plan your time accordingly. Don’t spend more time in extreme temperatures than is absolutely essential. Skin can freeze in a matter of minutes when the wind chill hits below 40 degrees Celsius.

Be very careful of frostbite. You can tell its presence by skin itching, tingling or numbness. The colour of your skin may also change to red, white, blue-grey or grey-yellow and appear waxier in nature. Or you may find yourself having more difficulty than normal with your usual range of motions.

If you see any of these signs, get out of the cold immediately. Do not rub your skin – the friction could potentially do further damage. Warm your skin up slowly using warm water or another source of heat. Keep in mind, though, that if your skin is numb you may not be able to feel if the source is too hot. Err on the side of caution.

Lastly, be sure to remain hydrated at all times. A lack of proper hydration can make you more susceptible to catching a cold and can negatively impact your day-to-day activities as well.