Winter Weather Safety
Nesco/Callos Resource would like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. Below are some tips to keep you safe during this special time of year.
Once again we are all receiving the cold shoulder, not to mention cold hands and feet. While most people brave the winter weather season fairly well, it's important to understand the dangers of winter weather and know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential cold-weather dangers.
How the body responds to cold
An individual gains body heat from food and muscular work, and loses it through convection, conduction, radiation, and sweating to maintain a constant body temperature of approximately 98.6°F. The body’s first response to a cold environment is constriction of the blood vessels of the skin, that reduces heat loss from the surface of the skin by decreasing peripheral blood flow; and/or shivering that generates heat by increasing the body’s metabolic rate.
Along with conditions such as low temperatures, cool high winds, dampness, and cold water, wind chill is an important factor to evaluate when working outside. For example, when the actual air temperature of the wind is 40°F and its velocity is 35 mph, the exposed skin would perceive these conditions as if the equivalent still air temperature were 12°F
Other Major Risk Factors for Cold-Related Stresses
In addition to the cold environment, other major risk factors contributing to cold-related stresses include:
• Inadequate clothing or wet clothing - The actual effects of cold on the body depend on how well the skin is insulated from the environment
• Drug use or certain medications - May inhibit the body’s response to cold or impair judgment (examples include beta blocks, neuroleptic drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes
• A cold or other disease - Diabetes, atherosclerosis and hypothyroidism, may increase risk
• Gender - Male death rates due to cold exposure are greater than the rates for females; perhaps because of inherent risk-taking activities, body fat composition, or other physiological differences
• Age - Susceptibility increases with age