Good-morning, kittens & dawgs! I crawled out of bed at 5am to a bone chilling 7℉. What a way to start the day! For the next few days Knoxvillans will think they are in a freezer.
While using my elliptical yesterday, I watched the news announce school delays for this morning and it made me think of my childhood. The frigid quarter-mile walk to the bus stop was horrible. I dreaded that so and as much as I loved playing in the cold and snow I fell victim to frostbite fingers and toes more often than I can count. I bet you did, too.
This got me to thinking, how cold is too cold? According to a publication I found online there are four factors to consider:
- cold temps
- high or cold wind
- cold water
Cold air, water, and snow pull heat from the body. This environment stresses the body to work harder to keep its temperature. The wind chill, which takes into account the air temp and wind speed can be wicked this time of year. For instance, our forecast high is 27℉, and the wind speed 8-mph, so skin exposure for folks in town will feel more like 19℉. BRRR! I think that’s a bit conservative (19℉) cause you know it’s gonna feel more extreme.
Common sense tells us the extreme cold associated with winter and improper clothing escalates cold stress, so bundle up kiddies! But, what I found very interesting is hypothermia occurs more often in the spring and fall with 50℉ temps coupled with the wind and getting damp. Who knew, right?! Not me.
For outdoor work or play in the cold or snow, it may help to decide how cold is too cold by calculating the wind chill. Next dress smart with 3-layers of loose-fitting, protective clothing.
- Outer layer: a nylon or Gortex windbreaker
- Middle layer: Insulating material ~ polar fleece or wool
- Inner: Moisture wicking turtleneck/tees and longjohns.
A key-note to remember is, if you get wet…get dry fast and If possible avoid cotton clothing. It will become wet from perspiration quicker and wet in cold weather spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.
Snuggle your toesy with the warmth that polar fleece or wool socks gives and wear insulated footwear. Oh yeah, don’t forget to top your noggin with a hat or cap. You loose about 40% of your body heat through your head. That gives new meaning to being a hot head, eh? lol So, hold that heat in baby! 😉
One more thing to do during the cold months is to keep a spare jacket, gloves, boots, and toboggan in the car. Also, if space allows stash a fleece blanket in the backseat in case you get stranded by the road. It’s easy to not place importance on these things for us in the southern regions of the US, but with the threat of black ice that blindside us on occasion then you gotta be proactive to insure you’re warm when it counts the most. Remember, hypothermia isn’t necessarily all about the cold, but how cold is too cold?