Take steps to stay safe in winter weather

Dress in layers and keep hydrated when it’s cold outside

For many people, working or playing in cold weather can be a positive experience. You may feel invigorated by the bracing air and feel like doing your work with more physical energy than usual. When it comes to leisure, cold weather offers many enjoyable activities whether it’s skiing, skating, snowmobiling or ice fishing.

Unfortunately, all the enjoyable aspects of working or playing out in cold weather can turn negative if you are not dressed warmly or dryly enough. Never underestimate winter’s blast. They call winter an “old man” but he’s far from frail. In fact, he’s apt to strike a deadly blow when you least expect it.

Follow these tips to help you stay warm, alert and safe when winter weather comes your way:
Dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing as the temperature changes. Carry extra gloves and socks in case yours get wet.
Winter wear should fit properly, but gear shouldn’t be so tight that it restricts movement. This is particularly true for footwear. Boots that are too tight restrict blood flow, causing feet to become even colder. When sizing shoes for outdoor winter activities, allow room for an extra pair of socks.

Fight off the cold by eating high energy food and drinking warm liquids frequently. Avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol because they cause dehydration.
Avoid alcohol, contrary to the popular image of the St. Bernard dog delivering brandy to warm a frozen victim.

Although you may not be sweating as much as you do in warm-weather, you still need to keep hydrated. In addition to water, consider low-sugar juices that are high in vitamin C, which studies show can lessen the severity and duration of winter colds. Decaffeinated tea and hot cocoa are also wise picks. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. They can dehydrate you more.
Try to keep moving while in the cold; don’t be still. This helps to keep your body temperature up and circulation moving. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite, get to a shelter right away and seek medical help.

Rest frequently in a warm, dry place. Fatigue contributes to cold injuries.
Visibility is often limited for winter work because of poor light or exhaust from vehicles. Take extra care to watch for moving vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles.

Driving in winter can be dangerous, so you should make sure you’re ready for any situation. Make sure your car is winterized with proper tires, antifreeze, and windshield washing fluid. Prepare your car for emergencies by keeping a first-aid kit, blankets, shovel, rock salt, ice scraper, water, and nonperishable snacks in your trunk.

Do not remove safety glasses when they fog up because you are exposing your eyes to hazards. Instead, take a quick break until they clear, or use an approved anti-fog product on the lenses.