imperative training's Winter Survival Guide
Date: Wednesday, 07 December 2016. -
Blog, First Aid, Paediatric, Health & Safety
Now that the cold weather has officially arrived, it’s only a matter of time before snow starts to fall. It’s started in America already, so it surely won’t be long until we’re seeing snowmen and snowball fights.
As fun as the colder seasons and snow can be, there is, sadly, a downside to the weather taking a turn for the colder end of the thermometer.
In this post, we highlight what you can do to ensure you enjoy the winter months, whilst still staying safe when playing out in the snow.
Don’t Let the Frost Bite
Frostbite can affect any part of the body, but more severe areas that are likely to be affected are the hands, feet, ears, nose and lips.
Frostbite or cold burn is caused by the body narrowing the blood vessels. Blood flow to the more severe areas is slowed down so the body can conserve more blood for the vital organs. With the blood being redirected, these parts of the body start to get colder and colder over time which causes the fluid in the tissues to freeze into ice crystals.
These can cause severe cell and tissue damage. The low blood flow deprives the tissues of oxygen. If blood flow can’t be restored then the tissue will eventually die.
If you suspect someone has frostbite then you should call their GP and move the person into a warm environment as quickly as possible. This will limit the effects of the injuries already sustained and it’s also likely they may have hypothermia. Do not put pressure on the affected area!
If the symptoms are more severe and there are symptoms of hypothermia, including constant shivering and/or fast breathing (hyperventilation) – then you should immediately go to your closest A&E department for professional assistance.
In severe cases, frostbite should be heated up by a medical professional and not by someone untrained!
To avoid frostbite, our top recommendation is to wrap up warm and always take precautions in the cold weather. Avoiding unnecessary exposure to the cold wind (wind chill) and cold temperatures is key to steer clear of frostbite and wear appropriate clothing that protects you as best as possible.
Creature of Habit
During winter, it’s common to experience low moods from time to time. For many of us, our morning commute is spent in the dark and by the time we’re ready to travel home, the sun has disappeared again for the day!
One thing we recommend to combat the winter blues is to become a creature of habit. Wondering what this means? Well, what we’re basically recommending is that you get yourself into a regular routine where you’re having your meals and downtime at set times of the evening, so when you go home, you know what you’re doing.
A regular routine has been proven to prevent you from feeling down, stressed or even unwell! So over the working weeks in December and when you’re enjoying your Christmas freedom, ensure you make time for yourself, despite the craziness of the season, enjoy hearty, healthy meals and get at least 7 hours sleep... Even on Christmas Eve!
When you’re getting in from work or University in the depths of winter, the last thing you’ll probably feel like doing is lacing up your running shoes and going out there for a run. But don’t let the cold weather stop you from being active and keeping fit!
If motivation isn’t an obstacle for you to get active and you’re sticking to your regular exercise regime, then make sure you wrap yourself up so you’re prepared for the cold.
An important thing to consider when exercising outdoors is to make sure you can be seen in the dark. When running in the dark nights of winter, it’s vital that you are visible to other people, especially motorists.
Ensure one of your layers are reflective and/or a bright colour such as fluorescent green or yellow. If you don’t feel that you could pull off the fluorescent look, then wearing white would also suffice. We highly advise against wearing dark colours when running on Winter night, simply because you can’t be seen!
Stick to well lit areas when running and avoid areas you don’t know or don’t feel safe in.
An Olympic Perspective
Who better to ask for a few Winter safety tips than a Winter Olympian? Three times Olympic snowboarder, Zoe Gillings-Brier sure knows a thing or two about being safe in Winter. All the training required to be a Winter Olympian is done in the winter, mainly on snow in Zoe’s case!
Zoe’s best advice for staying safe in Winter is to simply take care. Be careful walking as this is the season for slippery surfaces, and wrap up warm, even if you’re not planning on being outside for a very long time.
If you’re feeling adventurous and are thinking about taking part in a winter sport then ensure you have all the appropriate safety equipment and precautions in place to protect you and those around you.
Do you want to build a Snowman?
So, there you have it. Everything you could possibly need in order to stay safe during the winter.
Why not share your safety tips on winter with us on Twitter? Tweet us @imptraining and tell us what you do to stay safe and enjoy Winter. We’ll tell you what we do too... Right after we’ve finished building our snowman.