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Consider these important suggestions to prevent injuries due to cold weather

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As the winter season continues, many people will be spending some time enjoying outdoor activities. But this can quickly turn to disaster if your body is overcome by cold stress. Cold stress occurs when the body experiences excessive heat loss, resulting in injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite.

However, people can take preventative steps to protect themselves and their family so they can safely enjoy winter activities.


The Wind Chill Temperature Index chart is an excellent way to estimate the appropriate amount of clothing to wear. To find the wind chill temperature in the table, find the row corresponding to the wind speed and read across until reaching the column corresponding to the air temperature.

·         General precautions: As a general rule when working or playing outdoors, you should dress in layers and wear appropriate headgear and gloves. Also, changing clothes immediately is recommended if clothing becomes saturated with water due to heavy sweating or some other outdoor activity. Finally, people should make sure they are drinking enough water and monitor themselves and family members for any signs of cold injuries. The water intake table with this article is a good reference when planning your day;

·         Caution levels: Follow general precautions above. Put on additional layers of clothing. If available, wear mittens in place of gloves; and

·         Danger levels: Follow general precautions and caution levels. Limit your time spent outdoors.

For more information on thermal stress, please refer to AFI 48-151, Thermal Injury Prevention Program, or contact the Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight at 256-7307.