Winter injuries and treatments you should be aware of this season

You might be reading this now with a slight sneer on your face since you think that winter is no match when you’re holed up in your home. Where’s the fun in that? Locking yourself in your cozy living room for the winter months is next to impossible. You’ll need to go out either for school, work or simply to buy your favorite snack from the grocery store.

Given that few humans like extreme cold weather, we need to protect ourselves from the harshness of winter where, in many parts of the country, the temperature can even dip well below zero, and aided by winter chill, creates a condition that, if you’re ever caught out in the open without a means of protecting yourself, could severely impact your wellness.

With that, it’s important to know and treat cold weather related injuries, and this article aims to help you identify the right path towards preventive action and treatment should you or someone you know are injured by the cold weather.


Early Preparation

Though we’re only at the start of December, temperatures are already starting to fall dangerously low in many parts of the country. So, the obvious way to prepare yourself for this drastic temperature change is by having a ready emergency kit from your local drugstore like Chemmart Pharmacy. Remember, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Here’s what you need.

  • A heavy winter coat/jacket.
  • Heavy moisture-wicking socks.
  • Stocking cap.
  • Earmuffs and gloves.
  • Snow boots.

These items should be available to you at all times when the winter season starts, meaning, if you have to go out at all for any reason (school, work, shopping, etc.) during the biting winter conditions you need to pack them in your car.

Moreover, several layers of warm, loose-fitting clothing keeps heat in more ways that just a layer of heavy clothing. Also, put a foot and hand warmer in your first aid kit.

Early Indications of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a serious winter-related concern that we’re all in danger throughout the winter season. You may also view this great chart from Princeton University to know the physiology behind hypothermia. Here are the most common indicators of hypothermia:

  • Shivering, which can stop as hypothermia progresses.
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Confusion and memory loss
  • Sleepiness or exhaustion
  • Slurred or mumbled speech
  • Loss of coordination, shivering hands, stumbling steps
  • A slow, weak pulse

Best treatment practices

Once you successfully identify hypothermia, it’s vital that you initiate treatment quickly, so as to avoid loss of extremities or death. If medical care is not available, WebMD suggests the following treatments:

  • Get rid of any wet clothes, hats, gloves, shoes, and socks.
  • Shield the person against drafts, winds, and more heat loss with warm, dry clothes and blankets.
  • Move carefully to a warm, dry shelter if nearby.
  • Start rewarming the person with added clothing. Use warm blankets. Other useful items for warming are: hot packs and warming pad on the torso, armpits, neck, and groin and an electric blanket to the torso area; nevertheless. You may also use your own body heat if nothing else is accessible.
  • Know the person’s temperature with a thermometer if available.
  • Give warm liquids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine, which speed up heat loss. Don’t try to give liquids to an unconscious person.

That’s it. Keep yourself safe during the winter season!