Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What's hot for winter?

Getting plugged in, that’s what’s hot!  There are now options for battery-powered heated clothing to wear on those extremely cold days that will help protect you against the threat of hypothermia and frostbite.  The options include gloves, socks, jackets, and pants.   
The concept is fairly new and ever expanding.  The widest variety I found was with First Gear and the apparel was available on Amazon.com.  There are also options available through heated-gloves.com or any outdoor sporting goods store. 

Yes, we all live in Minnesota and we all know that cold weather is part of the deal.  When you spend most of your workday outdoors in the Minnesota winters, you need to leverage any possible advantage to ward off that bone-chilling cold.  You need to take care to protect your extremities and appendages from frostbite and your body from hypothermia.  While you may think this is being dramatic, frostbite can occur very quickly in the arctic weather that we experience. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk of frostbite is less than 5 percent when the air temperature is above 5 F, the risk increases as the wind chill falls. At wind chill levels below -18 F, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature and occurs when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Being active in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia, as does being an older adult.

Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek emergency help right away for possible hypothermia.

Does that mean that you have to just accept the cold and shiver your way through the longest season of the year?  It used to be that you just added another layer or stayed inside when possible to stay warm.  Thanks to some great innovative minds, we no longer have to make that choice or bulk up to go outside in the frigid temperatures. 

Here’s to keeping warm and staying safe this winter! 

By Tara Bursey

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