Prevention of cold-related injuries
It is cold weather outside! Prevention of cold-related injuries is very important for those who love to exercise outdoors all year around!
Common cold-related injuries
Frostbite is direct freezing to tissues when the skin temperature drops below -0.5 degrees C. Most commonly occurs in exposed areas where there is less blood flow (nose, ears, fingers, toes).
Hypothermia is when the core body temperature drops below 35 degrees C (95 degrees F) and the heat loss is greater than heat production. Can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Risk factors for cold injury:
- Weather combination of cold, wet, and wind
- Wind chills less than 5 degrees F
- Lower body fat percentage
- Age <20 or >60
- Underlying medical conditions that interferes with total body heat production
- Prior cold-related injury
How to prevent a cold-related injury:
- Dress appropriately!
- Base layers of polypropylene, polyester, and synthetic wool
- Avoid cotton as base layer since this traps moisture
- Middle layer of insulation like fleece or wool
- Outer layer to allow ventilation and protect against wind and rain
- Hats and mittens to protect vulnerable areas
- Make sure shoes are not too tight fitting
- Maintaining good hydration and adequate nutrition
- Exercise can help to increase core body temperature