Layer up when temperatures plummet

January 3, 2018

(HealthDay)—Two-thirds of the United States is grappling with bitterly cold temperatures as an Arctic front slides across the country, so one emergency doctor offers practical advice for those caught in the frigid weather.

Dr. Robert Glatter, a physician from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, puts a premium on covering up and layering while "paying special attention to the head and scalp, as well as the nose, neck and ears.

"In the , it's important to keep your head, face and nose covered, but most importantly dress in layers to prevent heat loss," he recommended in a hospital news release.

Also, "it is advisable to wear sturdy insulated boots with thick wool socks which keep your feet and toes warm in the cold temperatures—especially while shoveling snow," he added.

Shoveling in cold weather is itself an activity that can boost the risk for experiencing a heart attack, Glatter noted. The risk is particularly concerning among those already struggling with heart issues, including and diabetes.

To reduce such risk, he advised taking frequent breaks while at it, sticking to smaller shovel loads, and drinking lots of water to remain well-hydrated. Caffeine or alcohol can lead to dehydration and should be avoided, he said.

Another concern: falling, slipping and back injuries.

"People should wear sturdy, insulated boots and walk slowly, looking carefully at both feet and the pavement in front of them to avoid any potential patches of ice mixed in with the snow," Glatter said.

Last but not least is the risk for developing hypothermia, a condition defined by dizziness, confusion and/or shivering that can strike following short exposure to .

Hypothermia can happen after just 15 or 20 minutes spent outdoors in below-freezing temperatures, Glatter warned, with seniors and small children at particularly high risk.

But the solution, he suggested, is the common-sense use of sufficiently warm and dry clothing, layered to minimize exposure.

Explore further: Don't become a blizzard casualty

More information: There's more on hypothermia at U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Related Stories

Don't become a blizzard casualty

January 27, 2015
(HealthDay)—The blizzard conditions and frigid cold blanketing the U.S. Northeast pose numerous health threats, a doctor warns.

Take care in the bitter cold

January 19, 2016
(HealthDay)—As frigid temperatures send much of the northern half of the United States into a deep freeze, doctors say people need to take steps to avoid dangerous drops in body temperature, or hypothermia.

Polar vortex takes aim at US

December 13, 2016
(HealthDay)—A polar vortex is expected to bring extreme cold and winds to the central and eastern United States this week, and millions of Americans are being warned to guard against frostbite and hypothermia.

Protect yourself in icy temperatures, heavy snow

November 11, 2014
(HealthDay)—As the winter's first big snowstorm hits the Midwest and an Arctic blast barrels toward the East Coast this week, experts are offering tips on how to deal with the cold and snow.

Dealing with the deep freeze

January 23, 2014
(HealthDay)—As another blast of Arctic air sends millions of Americans into a prolonged deep freeze, doctors are offering advice on dealing with dangerously frigid temperatures.

The cold, hard truth about surviving bitter winter weather

January 6, 2014
(HealthDay)—The record-shattering cold weather that's gripping much of the United States can pose extreme health risks, doctors warned Monday.

Recommended for you

Students more likely to eat school breakfast when given extra time, new study finds

August 18, 2018
Primary school students are more likely to eat a nutritional breakfast when given 10 extra minutes to do so, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern University.

Like shark attack and the lottery, unconscious bias influences cancer screening

August 17, 2018
What do shark attack, the lottery and ovarian cancer screening having in common? It turns out our judgments about these things are all influenced by unconscious bias.

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Eating breakfast burns more carbs during exercise and accelerates metabolism for next meal

August 15, 2018
Eating breakfast before exercise may "prime" the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest food after working out, University of Bath researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.