• Take steps to protect yourself from cold injury

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  • U.S. Army Combat Readiness and Safety Center
    FORT RUCKER, Ala. — People can work and play in cold environments if they are properly prepared and understand basic control measures to prevent cold weather injuries.
    Keep the body warm
    • Keep moving by exercising big muscles (arms and legs) to keep warm.
    • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to shiver and gives a false sense of warmth.
    • Avoid all tobacco products, as they decrease blood circulation to the skin.
    • Eat all meals to maintain energy.
    • Drink water or warm non-caffeinated fluids to prevent dehydration. Drinking warm liquids like tea and hot chocolate that contain sugar provides energy to help the body generate additional heat.
    • Limit the amount of time spent outside on extremely cold days and periodically move into warm areas such as warming tents.
    Wear proper clothing
    • Wear several layers of loose clothing rather than one or two bulky layers. Air trapped between layers acts as insulation against the cold. Layers may also be removed if you become too hot. Additionally, loose clothing allows blood to circulate to the extremities.
    • Ensure all clothing is in good condition, clean and dry. Change wet, damp clothes immediately.
    Protect feet
    • Carry extra pairs of socks and change damp socks immediately. Use foot powder to help absorb moisture.
    • Avoid tight socks and boots, and never over-tighten boots or shoes.
    • Wear overshoes to keep boots and socks clean and dry.
    Protect hands
    • Wear gloves, mittens, or gloves and mittens with inserts to avoid frostbite injuries.
    • Keep gloves and mittens clean and dry. Change damp gloves immediately.
    • Warm hands under clothes if they become numb.
    • Avoid skin contact with snow, fuel or bare metal that has been exposed to the cold for extended periods.
    Protect head, face, ears
    • Wear a hat. A lot of the body’s heat is lost through an uncovered head.
    • Cover your face and ears with a scarf to prevent frostbite injuries. In combination, a hat and scarf protect the skin and retain body heat.
    • Warm your face and ears by covering, but not rubbing, with your hands.
    • Wear sunscreen.
    • Exercise facial muscles to help maintain circulation.
    Protect friends, family
    • Watch for signs of frostbite and other cold weather injuries in your buddies.
    • Ask about and assist with rewarming the feet, hands, ears and face.
    • Immediately treat anyone showing signs or symptoms of cold injury.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Remove sick and injured individuals from the cold; they are very susceptible to cold injuries.
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