Tis the season to be (cautiously) JOLLY!

internal – walking on the pond at BNWS

We’ve come a long way, baby, from where we were last year!  We’re looking forward, this year, to being able to gather with family and friends for the holidays, due to the scientific advances and consideration of individuals who are willing to adopt some important infection control measures for the common good!  So, get ready to have some fun!

But, what if it’s COOOOOLD outside?!  Judging by the numbers of people I met on walks throughout last winter, people are recognizing that getting outside, even in cold weather, is great!  Hiking, walking,  sledding, snowshoeing, building snow people, making snow angels, having snowball fights, skating & skiing are all great ways to have a good time during the fall and winter.  Of course, doing all of these safely is of utmost importance.  Consider what to wear.  Remember, you’ll lose body heat from any part of your body that’s exposed.  Here are some suggestions for bundling up on windy, cold days

Wear loose layers of clothing.  The air between the layers helps to keep you warm.

Put on a hat & scarf.  About 10% of your body heat is lost is your head is uncovered.  A scarf worn over your mouth & nose will help warm cold air as it passes into your lungs.

Wear a waterproof coat or jacket

Gloves and mittens are more than just fashionable!  Mittens can leave room to wiggle your fingers, which is the best way to keep them warm, but gloves made from insulated material work well to keep those digits toasty!

Don’t forget your feet!  Waterproof, warm boots will help protect your toes from frostbite.  If the feet are warmer, blood vessels dilate, allowing more efficient blood flow to the rest of your body. 

Change damp or wet clothes right away

A few other things to think about when enjoying the chilly outdoors…

When the temperatures drop and it appears that a body of water is frozen, don’t automatically take a walk onto the ice without first checking to ensure that it will support you.  Ice is not considered safe to walk until it’s at least 4 inches thick. If the weather has been cold, but cold days have been interspersed with warmer days, ice can honeycomb, whereby air or water are trapped beneath ice, making the ice structurally unsound.  Best to stick to ice rinks that are checked regularly by experts.

If you get thirsty when outside, eat snow or suck on ice, right?  Nope.  Snow and ice are cold, and eating them will lower your body temperature; probably not what you’re looking for to keep warm!

Being outside is going to mean I’m going to get a cold, right?  Wrong! Colds come from viruses, which are easier to transmit when people gather indoors because it’s cold outside.  Persistent exposure to cold temperatures, especially if you’re not sufficiently bundled up, can weaken your immune system, though, so be sure to prepare for those outside activities.

Take a keep breath!  The air just smells different when it’s cold out, doesn’t it?  Enjoy!