Winter City, Part 1 offered some ideas for fun winter activities you can do with your family and friends. But it’s hard to have fun if you’re not prepared for winter! This post will talk about how to dress properly for winter and also how to stay safe in winter conditions.
(1) Layers, layers, layers!
The most effective way to stay warm is to wear lots of layers! Wearing multiple layers helps trap your body heat and keep you warm, even when it gets very cold. The outer layer, usually a winter coat or jacket, should be water-resistant and windproof so that you are protected from rain, snow, and wind. Underneath your winter coat, you can wear whatever is warm or comfortable: a long-sleeve shirt, maybe a sweater, or perhaps an insulating jacket. Make sure you wear a scarf or neck warmer because this will prevent the warm air inside your jacket from escaping. To keep your legs warm, you can put on a pair of snow pants, or you can wear long johns under your pants, or both.
(2) Protect your extremities
Extremities are the outermost parts of your body: your hands and fingers, feet and toes, and parts of your face including your ears, nose, and cheeks. These parts are more exposed and will usually get cold first. Make sure you protect them! Wear gloves or mittens for your hands and warm socks and winter boots for your feet. A toque is very important because it covers your head and prevents heat from leaving your body, and it should also cover your ears. A scarf will insulate your neck and can also be used to cover your nose and mouth. Alternatively, you can also wear a winter face mask which will cover everything except your eyes.
(3) Check the weather forecast
Look at the daily weather forecast before you go outside! The weather can change in just a few hours – it can be warm and sunny in the morning, and cold and windy or snowing in the afternoon. You want to make sure you are prepared for the entire day. It’s also a good idea to carry extra clothes in your bag or backpack so you can put them on in case you get cold.
(4) Plan extra time for transit
Winter can be challenging for transit. Sidewalks can be covered in snow and roads can be icy. It’s easy to slip and fall when walking from one place to another, so make sure to slow down and take your time. Driving is also more difficult with poor road conditions, and there are often more car accidents and traffic jams. If you are taking the bus, leave extra time in case the bus is running late. And if you are driving, go slow and always wear your seat belt! As a pedestrian, always watch out for distracted drivers or vehicles that have lost control.
(5) Know the risks and stay healthy!
Some serious and potentially life-threatening risks during cold weather include frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite can happen when skin is exposed to very cold temperatures and freezes. When there is wind chill, especially when it’s colder than -20*C, frostbite can happen in minutes! This is why it’s important to bundle up and protect your extremities. If your skin feels numb or looks pale, you might have signs of frostbite – move to a warm place and let the affected areas warm up. Hypothermia can occur if your body temperature drops too much. Signs of hypothermia can include shivering, numbness, weakness, and confusion. It’s very important to stay warm and dry as it gets colder. If you think you or someone else might have hypothermia, seek medical attention or call 911! Cold weather can also cause dry skin, and for this you can apply moisturizing cream or lip balm. Drink lots of water as well to stay hydrated. Wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from snow glare.
Now that you’re more prepared, get out there and have fun!