Always dress for the weather. It’s about layers, layers, layers. Cover your head, face and hands as frostbite can occur very quickly. The most susceptible areas are you fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose. Some symptoms of frostbite include:
Sensory: pins and needles, reduced sensation of touch, skin burning sensation, or stinging sensation
Skin: blue skin from poor circulation or redness. skin gets very cold, then numb, hard, and pale
Also common: blistering, feeling cold, or waxy skin
Careful not to over-exert when shoveling. It is best to push snow to the side rather than lift. Especially if it is a wet snow it can be very heavy. If you must lift remember to bend your knees so your muscles in your legs do the work. Some useful hacks include: rubbing vegetable oil, paraffin wax, or spraying cooking spray on your shovel helps keep the snow from sticking and allows you to shovel more quickly and easier. Be sure to take breaks while shoveling snow. It is a WORKOUT! Lastly, drink in moderation and stay hydrated.
Baby steps. Caution is the key. An old axiom to keep in mind is when it is cold and icy the path is dicey. Be sure to take it slow, keep your toes pointed out and your hands outside of your pockets. This tip is helpful if you feel like you’re going to lose your balance, then you will be able to brace yourself.
Salt is more than just a seasoning. After a snowfall, be sure to use salt, ice melt or sand as these will help to increase traction on driveways and sidewalks. Additional traction can be a deciding factor in whether you slip and fall.
Winter in the Midwest can be beautiful as well as dangerous. Protect yourself by keeping these winter safety tips in mind. Stay warm and stay safe!