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Surviving the Winter: Avoiding Slipping, Hypothermia & Dehydration

windy winter roadWe should be grateful that we avoided Winter Storm Jonas, which ravaged several major mid-Atlantic cities with 2+ feet of snow. However, we’re not quite out of the woods yet, folks. We were lucky to get a mere dusting over the weekend, but unfortunately, we’re now due for a major winter storm. With Winter Storm Jonas, there are now 48 confirmed fatalities, most of which were the result of car accidents, roofs collapsing and accidents resulting from people slipping on ice. In order to better prepare yourselves for the inevitable winter blizzard, follow these simple steps to avoid slipping, hypothermia and dehydration.
Avoid Getting Dehydrated

  • Drink plenty of water! Because of the cold weather, it’s harder to recognize when you’re dehydrated than during the summer. This is because your mind is fixated on staying warm as opposed to staying hydrated. The air is actually much drier during the winter, which makes it easier to get dehydrated.
  • Don’t work too hard. When it’s cold outside, your body uses energy to keep itself warm. This makes it easier to over-exhaust yourself.
  • Whether you’re skiing, shoveling, snowboarding or playing hockey, make sure to have water on you at all times. Force yourself to drink -even if you’re not thirsty – because there’s a strong chance you’re still dehydrated.

Beware of Black Ice

  • Try to stick to sidewalks you know are safe. Typically, sidewalks without ice have visible anti-freeze chemicals on it, which leave a whitish-hue to the sidewalk.
  • Be careful around newer driveways or sidewalks. Because newer pavement surfaces have a darker color to them, black ice is harder to see.
  • Driveways/sidewalks with a water source near them (sewer drains, gutters, water canals) develop black ice easily. Because they generally emit a small amount of water, it creates a thin layer of ice.

Dress Warmly to Avoid Getting Hypothermia

  • Wear water-proof clothes. Many winter boots are not waterproof, which makes them practically useless in snowy conditions.
  • Wear undergarments that are not made out of cotton materials. Long underwear is extremely beneficial, especially when it’s made out of polypropylene layers, wool or silk.
  • Before planning your outfit, look up the wind chill, in addition to the temperature. Wind chill essentially calculates how cold it feels by factoring in the temperature and wind. For instance, 0° with a 10mph wind, has a -16 wind chill.

In case you injure yourself, we here at AFC Urgent Care New Bedford can diagnose and treat a range of winter-related injuries. If you’re an employer and you wish to take advantage of our occupational health services, visit our employer services page. To speak with one of our medical professionals, call us at 508.990.1900.
We look forward to providing you with the health services you need to get through the winter!