Winter weather has most of the North East going stir crazy. Being stuck inside is no fun for anyone. So much shoveling has been done in the last few weeks it’s unbelievable. Whether we are clearing our driveways, sidewalks or our cars, we are constantly exposing ourselves to the elements.
Be wary of doing prolonged activities or exercises in the cold. Moisture will build up in your clothing and will cause serious limb threatening conditions, such as frostbite, trench foot and/or hypothermia. It is extremely important for you to understand the dangers of winter weather to prevent anything-hazardous happening to your health.
Frostbite is caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues, due to prolonged exposure to cold weather. Early signs of frostbite are your skin becomes very cold and red. Your symptoms will progressively worsen until your skin is numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin! Also beware frostbite can strike your skin that is semi-protected via your gloves and clothing.
Trench Foot is caused by prolonged exposure to damp, cold, unsanitary conditions. Unlike frostbite trench foot doesn’t necessarily require freezing temperatures. Symptoms to look out for are your foot becoming numb, changes color, swells and starts to smell due to damage to the skin, blood vessels and nerves in the feet. Be aware and try avoiding any situation where your feet are submerged in damp conditions for a prolonged period of time i.e. shoveling or plowing.
Hypothermia is caused by when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. This is a considered to be a medical emergency. Normal body temperature is approximately 98.6 F, however you’re considered hypothermic if you body temperature drops below 95 F. In hypothermia you can experience end organ damage to your heart, nervous system and other vital organs.
We hope that you are all staying warm and keeping save in this constant bombardment of these Nor’easters. Don’t hesitate; come into our office Frederick Foot & Ankle if you have any foot or ankle injuries or questions. We would be more than happy to schedule an appointment and discuss options, at any of our 3 offices in Frederick, MD or Urbana, MD.
By Nikki Ho