Winter should come with a warning label. Between the snow, ice and cold, just stepping outside can be a risky move.
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But that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate and wait for spring flowers before heading outdoors. By taking the proper precautions, you can safely immerse yourself in any winter wonderland.
So, check out these tips before grabbing a warm coat, hat and gloves to find some frosty fun.
Do you ever giggle at those online videos of someone slipping on ice while frantically waving their arms in a futile attempt to regain balance? Well, that could be you. Follow these guidelines from hospitalist Aaron Hamilton, MD, to avoid becoming a future “Winter Wipeout” star.
“Jack Frost nipping at your nose” may be a cute lyric in a holiday song, but it’s also a cautionary tale. Sub-zero temperatures and chilling winds can cause frostbite on exposed skin within 10 minutes, explains emergency room physician Stephen Meldon, MD.
So, make sure to bundle up in the cold. (On that note, here are some ways to convince your too-cool-for-a-coat teenager to dress for the weather, courtesy of pediatrician Kimberly Giuliano, MD.)
Keep hats handy, too — advice that’s especially important for younger kids.
Driving in wintry conditions adds an extra element of risk to any trip. Watch this video to learn which eight items should absolutely be in your vehicle in case a cold-weather car issue leaves you stranded on the roadside.
Kids in cars
Warm and puffy coats are perfect for when your little ones are frolicking outside. But pediatrician Kimberly Giuliano, MD says those bulky coats can make safety straps less effective when your kids are buckled into a car seat. Here’s how to tell if your child’s coat is too thick for safe travel.
Did you know that snow weighs approximately 20 lbs. per cubic foot? Shoveling that mess off of your driveway is equal to a strenuous workout — and that sort of exertion in frigid temperatures can trigger a heart attack. Cardiologist Luke Laffin, MD, has some advice to keep your ticker safe.
And to protect your back while clearing snow, make sure you’re using the right kind of shovel and proper technique. Limiting your “lift and throw” can keep the aches away, notes chiropractor Andrew Bang, DC.
Swapping your shovel for a snowblower may seem like a safer option given that last note. Well, consider this: Snowblowers cause more than 5,000 injuries a year. So, if you use one of those machines, take these precautions suggested by orthopaedic surgeon David Shapiro, MD.
Here’s a cold, hard fact: Icicles that break off a roofline and crash to the ground can pack quite a punch. If you’re in the drop zone, being hit by falling ice can lead to concussions, bad bruises or even broken bones, explains emergency medicine physician Thomas Waters, MD.
Health on the hill
Sledding carries inherent risk. After all, you’re basically careening down a slippery slope while sitting atop a skimpy ride. It’s a recipe for broken bones, bruises, concussions and other injuries. Follow these tips from emergency medicine physician Baruch Fertel, MD, to end your sledding experience sipping hot cocoa at home instead of waiting to be seen at the ER.
Cold and snow don’t have to cancel an outdoor run. If you do brave the elements, expect some unique challenges, says sports medicine physician Caitlin Lewis, MD. Here’s how to safely get your miles in.
Drinks on ice
Drinking a “cold one” in the cold might seem enticing, but mixing alcohol and winter weather can be dangerous, says Dr. Waters. Why? For starters, it can give you a false sense of warmth. So take these precautions if you’re going to raise a glass outdoors.
Wondering how you’ll stay healthy this winter? Then, check out these nine tips addressing everything from how to dodge the cold and flu to keeping your skin soft, staying trim and brightening your mood.