With the holidays finished and months to go until we hit warm spring weather, the seemingly endless winter cold at this time of year can start to feel a bit depressing. But never fear; with the right preparation, you can stay warm and dry through freezing temperatures and blizzards. These are four life hacks that make those frigid days bearable.
1. WEAR WARM WEATHER ATTIRE
Keeping your body covered and layered from head to toe will make you feel toasty on even the coldest days. Layers around your body’s core will trap in heat, and make it easy to adjust when you walk inside to a heated room. Dress in thermal shirts and long underwear as under-layers, and cover up in a warm, waterproof coat.
To minimize the risk of hypothermia, keep your extremities covered with waterproof gloves, a winter hat, thick socks, and lined winter snow boots. Don’t forget your eyes, either. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun’s heavy winter glare and stinging cold winds.
2. TAKE HEAT PRECAUTIONS AT HOME
Winter weather means turning on the heat, and a few simple guidelines will help you stay safe indoors. Turn your thermostat to a consistent temperature to prevent pipes bursting or freezing, including at a minimum temperature of 55F if you leave town. If you use space heaters during extra-cold nights, remember to keep them on a surface that’s stable and at least three feet away from anything that might be flammable, like rugs or curtains.
Lighting up the fireplace is great on winter nights, but watch it closely to avoid dangerous situations. Ensure your metal or glass fire screen is sizable enough to prevent rolling logs or wayward embers, and put the fire fully out before turning in at night.
3. FOLLOW WEATHER REPORTS
During winter, get online or turn on the TV or radio for up to date forecasts of winter conditions. Current forecasts ensure you stay informed of extreme winter weather, such as winter storm or blizzard warnings, sleet, and freezing rain. You’ll also stay up to date on school and road closures that might impact your commute.
4. KNOW THE SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA
The biggest cold weather risk is hypothermia, a potentially deathly condition where the body becomes too cold to properly function. The highest risk is in below freezing weather, but the risk remains in warmer conditions, particularly if the victim gets wet. It’s important to be aware of the signs of hypothermia and watch for them in yourself and others, particularly if you’ll be outside on a cold day for extended periods.
Be prepared for hypothermia by keeping emergency numbers on hand, and make an emergency kit for your car. A car kit will also protect you from developing hypothermia in the event of a car emergency keeps you without heat during cold months.