While the New Year has officially begun, so does the cold weather for most of us. With dropping temperatures and freezing precipitation comes the risk of Cold Stress as you work outdoors. Let’s take a look at what Cold Stress is and some ways to keep you safe this winter season.
What is Cold Stress?
Cold Stress is a condition that occurs when your body is no longer able to maintain its’ normal temperature. As your body temperature begins to drop, symptoms such as shivering, rashes, muscle stiffness, drowsiness, and exhaustion can occur. If these symptoms are not treated quickly, the body will begin to shutdown as you lose consciousness and the situation can turn fatal. Here are some tips to keep your body warm as you work:
Acclimate Yourself to the Weather
Just like in the hot summer months, acclimating your body to cold weather helps prevent the initial shock of the cold. Build up your tolerance to the cold by slowly introducing yourself in short periods.
Wear Proper Clothing
The best way to stay warm is to wear layers of loose-fitting clothing. Tight fitting clothes can slow blood flow and reduce the ability to stay warm. Don’t forget to swap clothes as they get wet (especially socks).
Drink plenty of warm fluids such as water and electrolyte drinks to keep hydrated. Stay away from caffeinated drinks and steer clear of alcohol.
Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. When taking a break, try to move to a warm area and allow your body to warm itself up. Stay away from large meals as these can drain your energy.
As the cold weather moves in, take these tips and apply them to your workday. To keep the conversation going, download the Cold Stress Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.