We're smack dab in the middle of winter, and it's showing no signs of letting up! Although I'm a huge fan of the cold, I respect it's limits, and so should everyone else.
For those of you brave enough to endure these frigid temperatures, it's important to take care of yourself while you're out there.
Or if you have a loved one who has a career working outdoors, you might want to share these tips with them.
4. Use the Buddy System
Look, I get it. I used to be a tough guy roofer shoveling snow off of roofs who "Wouldn't need a babysitter", but even the old construction veterans I would work with never worked alone.
Signs of cold exhaustion and fatigue usually aren't recognized by the individual suffering from them, but rather someone else observing the symptoms as they happen.
Not to mention if you accidentally injured yourself; being alone and injured is already a nightmare scenario. Now imagine being alone, injured, and freezing. Yeah, no thanks.
3. Learn the Signs & Symptoms of Hypothermia
This dovetails nicely with my previous point; what's the point of a buddy system if you don't recognize the signs & symptoms of hypothermia?
There's two stages of Hypothermia:
- Loss of coordination
- Shivering stops
- Blue skin
- Dilated pupils
- Slowed breaths & heart rate
If you or your buddy start experiencing these signs, seek help straight away. Don't jump straight into a hot tub or blanket though; you'll just put yourself through after-drop, which is basically 30-60 minutes of uncontrollable & painful shivering.
Instead, slowly warm up by going indoors and removing your cold and wet clothing, drying yourself off, and putting on some clean warm clothes.
2. Drink Warm Beverages & Heat Warm, High-Calorie Foods
One of the reasons why we start shivering as we get cold is to maintain our core body temperature. Shivering engages many internal heating factors, including activating your brown fat. When this is activated, white fat & ATP is burned, which in turn saps your energy levels quickly.
You can avoid or lower your levels of shivering by drinking warm beverages or eating warm food throughout the day.
Maintaining core body temperature burns a lot of nutirients, so be sure that those snacks you keep in your back pocket are loaded with calories.
1. Wear Heated Apparel
This may be the most obvious, but it is by far the most effective.
Wearing heated apparel tricks your body into thinking that it's in homeostasis by keeping out the cold temperatures while warming your skin. As a result, shivering doesn't occur, energy levels last longer, and you're more comfortable throughout your grueling work day.
Some of our best items for working in the cold include:
Hopefully there's a few tidbits of information in there that helps you better understand the physiology of why you need to stay warm while working outside.
Do you have any extra tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Although our heated apparel does have impressive battery life, they don't last forever.
Have some back up heat for those overtime hours with our FNDN Power Bank!