OK, a lot of us in the US are now asking, “What the heck just happened?” Much of the country has endured record breaking cold. Apparently, we have just experienced a Polar Vortex, a fancy word for “I’m friggin freezing!” It is actually a weather phenomenon whereby the winds that normally swirl around the North Pole dip down much lower on the planet than usual. You can learn more about it here – http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/us/polar-vortex-explained/
Weather like this is not only uncomfortable (to say nothing of all the snow that preceded it); it can also be dangerous to your skin. We often use the term “frostbite” but what does it actually mean? Frostbite is when the skin and underlying tissues actually freeze. There are various levels of severity and, in extreme cases, can lead to permanent skin damage or amputation.
While we all hope the next Polar Vortex doesn’t happen again soon, here are some basics to remember when dealing with extreme cold:
- Dress in layers of light loose clothing.
- Don’t forget your head and neck as well as feet and toes. Again, multiple layers are better.
- Consider combining gloves with mittens.
- Use common sense. Dress appropriately, avoid alcohol and keep moving!
And don’t forget your ChopSaver!
To learn more about frostbite and how to avoid it, we recommend this article – http://www.uis.edu/healthservices/forms/frostbite/