Antarctica. Siberia. Buffalo. These are some of the coldest places on Earth. Okay, Buffalo may not be in competition with Siberia, even if this city in New York does have some serious winter snow. However, what these places do have in common is that visitors and residents have to protect their skin from inclement weather and defend themselves against both frostbite and hypothermia.
Skincare in Chilly Weather
Cold weather can be rough and tough on your skin. You’ll have to switch up your skincare routine when the weather turns from warm to cold. Take longer showers and make sure the water’s not too hot, which will dry out skin. Use moisturizing body wash instead of traditional bar soap and pat yourself dry with a towel instead of rubbing. Apply plenty of moisturizer when your skin’s still damp to lock in moisture. When you’re outside, protect your skin by bundling up with a heavy coat, scarf, gloves and a hat. Also, apply sunscreen daily – just because it’s cold that doesn’t mean you’re not subject to sun damage.
Frostbite Overview, Symptoms and Treatment
When the tissue in your body freezes, frostbite occurs. According to WebMD, there are two types of frostbite: superficial and deep. If you have superficial frostbite, you’ll feel burning, tingling and itching. You may also feel numb or cold in the area that’s affected. The area could also be white and even look frozen; when you press on it, you’ll notice there’s resistance. If you have deep frostbite, you’ll slowly start to lose sensation in the affected area. You’ll notice white or yellow skin that looks swollen and may have red blisters. The affected area could even look black in some cases.
To treat frostbite, get to a warm area and keep the affected area elevated, which should help reduce swelling. Drink a warm beverage that’s not caffeinated or alcoholic. If the condition doesn’t improve with self-treatment, visit a doctor or hospital immediately. If left unattended, you could lose the affected area.
To prevent frostbite, make sure to not be exposed to cold weather for an extended period of time, particularly if you don’t have the proper clothing for warmth. Always layer clothing, especially if you know you’re going to be outside, and wear waterproof shoes.
Hypothermia Overview, Symptoms and Treatment
If your body loses heat faster than it can make it, this could result in hypothermia. Shivering, skin that’s blue-gray and numb extremities may be signs of hypothermia. The Mayo Clinic describes additional hypothermia symptoms that include apathy, poor judgement, unsteadiness when walking, slurred speech, shallow breathing and a slow pulse. To treat hypothermia, get to a warm area, wrap yourself up in warm blankets, sit near heaters and use hot water bottles against your body. Hypothermia that’s moderate to severe must be treated by a medical professional.
A person who has hypothermia could very well have frostbite, too. It’s always more important to treat the hypothermia before the frostbite. Losing a life is much worse than losing a finger.