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Staying safe in the cold

Aspirus Health shares cold weather injury prevention tips


Dr. Bryan Judge, Aspirus Emergency Medicine Physician and Emergency Trauma Medical Director

As temperatures begin to fall again, it’s important to raise awareness about cold weather injury prevention. Exposure to cold weather can lead to various health risks, including frostbite, hypothermia and other cold-related injuries.


“Prevention is key,” says Bryan Judge, MD, Aspirus Emergency Medicine Physician and Emergency Trauma Medical Director. “Preparing appropriately when you’re out and about in the car, have a pair of gloves, hat and boots incase you get stranded is important.”


Aspirus Health stresses the critical importance of cold weather injury prevention to mitigate the potential dangers associated with winter weather. Here are some tips from for preventing injuries related to cold weather:


  • Layer clothing. Wear multiple layers of clothing to trap warm air close to the body. The layers should include a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from the skin, an insulating layer for warmth, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.
  • Protect extremities. Keep extremities such as hands, feet and ears well-covered. Wear insulated and waterproof gloves, thick socks and a hat that covers the ear to prevent frostbite.

  • Stay dry. Wet clothing and skin significantly increase the risk of cold-related injuries. Use waterproof outer layers to protect against rain and snow and change into dry clothing if you become wet.
  • Hydration. Stay hydrated, as dehydration can increase the risk of cold injuries. Drink warm beverages and avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Know the signs of frostbite. Be aware of the early signs of frostbite, including numbness, tingling or pain in extremities. If you notice these symptoms, seek shelter and warm up the affected area gradually.
  • Know your limits. Be aware of your own cold tolerance and know when it’s time to seek shelter. Avoid pushing your body beyond its limits in extremely cold conditions.
  • Play it safe with outdoor activities. If engaging in winter sports or outdoor activities, plan ahead. Check weather forecasts, inform someone of your plans, and ensure you have the appropriate gear and equipment.
  • Stay informed. Be alert to weather conditions and warnings in your area. Be prepared to alter your plans to take extra precautions based on the changing weather forecasts.


By adopting these preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of cold weather injuries and enjoy outdoor activities safely during the winter. It’s crucial to be vigilant, stay informed and prioritize personal safety in cold weather conditions.



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