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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

By November 30, 2012 winter safety

Snow is falling as I write this week’s blog! Even though it’s only November, it’s safe to say – love it or hate it – winter is upon us. Here in the Pocono Mountains we can expect an average annual snowfall of 46 inches with temperatures averaging a high of 34o and low of 19o during the months of December through February. It is important to keep in mind that winter ushers in some seasonal risks along with those snowfalls and bitter cold temperatures…but, we can still enjoy our great outdoors here in the Poconos! Here are a few tips to enjoy the winter weather while guarding against some of its dangers:

 Hypothermia and Frostbite:  Hypothermia happens when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing your body temperature to get dangerously low.  According to the CDC, hypothermia results in 600 deaths per year in the United States.  Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to very cold temperatures.  To help prevent these conditions:

    • Dress warmly and stay dry.
    • Dress in layers so you can add or remove layers as needed.
    • Don’t forget to wear hats, gloves, and thick socks.
    • Wear undergarments that allow moisture to move away from the body.
    • Wear waterproof clothes for your outer layer in case of rain or snow.
    • Remove wet clothes as soon as possible.
    • Check out more tips on winter dressing at weather.com 

Winter Sports Related Injuries:  The CPSC estimates an annual 183,000 serious winter sports-related injuries. While skiing, skating, hockey, and sledding are all great sources of outdoor winter fun, they also bring along risks of serious injury. To minimize these risks, be sure to:

    • Consider taking lessons from an expert.
    • Use good quality equipment that fits well.
    • Use the “buddy” system.
    • Wear helmets for all sports where head injury is a risk.  Click for a list of recommended helmet usage.
    • Wear goggles to protect your eyes.
    • Check out sport specific tips at CPSC

Sun-related injuries: Be aware that the sun is still as damaging, if not more damaging, in the winter than in the summer.  Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light – so that is basically being exposed to the sun twice! You can still enjoy winter activities by:

    • Applying an SPF of 30 or higher before going out and reapplying every 2 hours.
    • Using a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher.
    • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare off the snow.

So, before you head outside to make the first snowman of the year, keep these tips in mind to make sure you are prepared to ward off winter’s dangers. Then bundle up, stay dry, and welcome winter!