Brrrrr! The polar vortex is upon us! With one of the coldest winters in history, we have complied 10 essential tips for you to stay warm and healthy. It is important adjust your lifestyle according to the decreasing temperature to save yourself from cold/flu and even frost bite
- Dress warm – It may seem obvious but the key to dressing warm is layers, layers and more layers. By wearing multiple layers you are insulating your body and trapping in the heat, finishing off the top layer with a windbreaker is also a great way to prevent the chills.
- Wear a toque – In Canada, it’s important never to leave home without it. You lose the most amount of body heat from you head, so covering it should be a religious practice.
- Wear winter boots – Make sure you have yourself a great pair of boots designed for winter wear. For more information, check out our previous post on What to look for in a winter boot.
- Avoid sweating – The temptation to remain active in the cold weather can backfire quickly if you are not experienced. When we sweat we tend to lose body heat more quickly it is best to avoid strenuous activity in order to stay warm.
- Stay dry – Getting cold and wet at the same time can feel like a nightmare. If snow or water gets under your jacket or into your boots, get inside and change your clothes immediately to prevent frost bite and hypothermia.
- Watch for warning signs – Frostbite typically starts with a numb tingling sensation in the face, fingers or toes, which is followed by redness in the face and pain. Signs of the other big, winter- related illness, hypothermia, include issues affecting the brain such as confusion, slurred speech and drowsiness.
- Keep your hands and feet warm – Our extremities are usually last to get body heat because we tend to be more concerned for our organs and torso. Keep them in mind as well and never go anywhere in winter without a good pair of gloves and thick socks. Double layering also applies hear as a thin cotton glove under your winter mitts is a great idea. Your socks can be doubled up as well.
- Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated is not just important for summer time. We all know that to avoid heat stroke in the summer, we should drink water frequently. This also applies in the winter. Our bodies use a tremendous amount of energy to stay warm in the winter and drinking fluid helps replenish this lost energy.
- Have a warm snack or drink – A nice bowl of soup or a warm hot chocolate goes a long way to keep our insides warm. In fact, anything you eat will give your body extra energy to keep producing heat so do not stay hungry.
- Stay inside – In these extreme conditions, is it really worth going outside? If you can delay what you are doing until a warmer day, your body will thank you and you will be safer and happier for it.
Dr. Anil Kaushal