Outdoor Winter Safety
While it’s tempting to spend the winter indoors, it’s healthier to get outdoors! Winter exercise, fresh air and sunshine strengthen the immune system of adults and children alike. Did you know, it’s a myth that cold weather causes flus and colds? In fact, bacteria and viruses thrive and are more easily passed along in indoor environments.
Whether you’re a winter athlete or just appreciate a brisk walk around your neighbourhood, check out these outdoor safety essentials:
Dress for winter success!
Instead of opting for heavy outerwear, dress in loose-fitting layers that meet the following criteria:
• The layer closest to you should be moisture-wicking to keep you dry and comfortable. Synthetic material will help you avoid getting chilled due to sweating.
• The middle layer should be insulating to retain heat and offer protection from the cold. A fleece top, wool sweater or a sweatshirt are all good as an insulating layer.
• Your top layer should be a waterproof, wind-resistant shell. For example, a nylon parka is better than a wool jacket for your top layer.
As 50% of body heat is lost through the head, a hat is a must. Winter toques (knitted caps), made of fleece, performance polyester or wool are perfect for keeping ears warm and maintaining your body heat. If you’re hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in windy areas, a balaclava (ski mask) worn underneath your toque will add another layer of protection. If you become too warm, you can always remove one or the other.
Gloves vs mitts?
While gloves offer more dexterity, your fingers will be warmer in mittens. Try nylon mitts with insulating down or synthetics.
Keeping yourself hydrated is important in cold, as well as warm weather. If winter conditions make water unappealing, carry a thermos of a warm, non-caffeinated liquid, such as tea or hot chocolate. You can even make a non-alcoholic “mocktail” of apple cider, cranberry juice, sliced ginger, orange peel, cinnamon and cloves. Simply bring all ingredients to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and pour into a thermos for a heartwarming drink.
Winter hazards: hypothermia and frostbite
A winter safety plan should include being aware of the risks and signs of hypothermia and frostbite. When scheduling winter outdoor activities, check Environment Canada weather alerts for warnings of a winter storm or other conditions that can cause frostbite. Frostbite usually occurs on ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Even skin that is protected can be affected by frostbite. Frostbitten skin is cold and numb and may appear white, waxy or grayish-yellow. If you suspect frostbite, immediately move indoors to a warm place, remove any wet clothing and seek medical attention. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35 degrees C (95 degrees F). One of the first signs of hypothermia is uncontrolled shivering, the body’s attempt to keep warm. Immediately get to a warm place indoors and call 911, as hypothermia can lead to irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness and death.
When you are going to be outdoors for any length of time, having a winter safety checklist that includes access to an indoor facility and a first aid kit is a must. When your home security system includes smart lighting and a smart thermostat, you can ensure that you always arrive home to the comfort and safety of a warm, well-lit home. A remote thermostat keeps you in control, allowing you to adjust your home’s temperature from wherever you are, from the convenience of your smartphone. With TELUS SmartHome Security, you can set your thermostat at a minimum and then adjust it, so that cozy warmth awaits you. Smart lighting ensures your front door can be illuminated and lights can automatically come upon your arrival or when your door is opened.
For the ultimate in winter safety, including smart lighting and remote thermostat control, simply call 855.958.8181 to speak to an TELUS SmartHome Security representative today.
1. National Safety Council
TELUS SmartHome Security News and Tips
Smart home technology that includes remote thermostat sensing, allows you adjust the temperature of your home or a designated area from almost anywhere.