Frigid temperatures and bone-chilling winds are here. Not only do they cause discomfort, they actually can pose a threat to your health. When your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, hypothermia occurs.
“Hypothermia is characterized by excessive shivering along with a feeling of exhaustion, dizziness or lightheadedness,” says Mike Remoll, MD, medical director of the emergency department at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
So what can you do to stay warm in the cold?
Dr. Remoll says the key is wearing layers. “You want some space in between each layer as opposed to wearing one thick garment,” he says.
There are three areas you want to be sure to keep warm: the head, the hands and the feet.
“You definitely want to keep your head covered and make sure you wear nice warm gloves and nice warm socks,” Dr. Remoll says. He explains that these areas of the body are at highest risk for hypothermia. Children and the elderly are especially at risk.
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For people who brave the cold to exercise outside, Dr. Remoll says it’s important to stop exercising once you start to sweat. “The skin becomes much colder when it’s wet,” he explains. “If you can exercise inside in a warm environment, that’s a lot safer.”