Bitter cold weather has blanketed much of the U.S. this winter. Winter storms have dropped heavy snow and created dangerous travel conditions too. Weather like this can make staying warm a challenge, even if you’re indoors as sub-zero temperatures can test even the hardiest furnace.
Since we can’t control the weather, we must find ways to stay warm. Here are 8 simple ways to stay warm and safe this winter.
Layer. Indoors or outdoors, dress in layers. Wearing multiple layers of clothes helps the body retain warmth by creating pockets of air – and preventing its escape. Ideally you want to wear denser, thicker layers like wool or even microfleece closer to the skin and lighter, slightly breathable layers over them. And remember to wear a hat; a lot of heat can be lost through an uncovered head.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can sneak up on you during the winter. In addition to sweat, we also lose moisture through breathing. Cold dry air steals moisture from the lungs forcing the body to work harder to replace it. How can you tell if you’re well hydrated? If you find yourself urinating less or when you do it is dark yellow in color, it probably means you should drink more water.
Enjoy warm beverages. A cup of fresh warm coffee or tea helps warm the body’s core temperature. Plus, both coffee and tea provide numerous health benefits which can help protect against illness during the winter. One note on those warm winter beverages: skip the added brandy, whiskey or schnapps. They may be tasty, but they cause the body temperature to drop.
Know if you’re susceptible to cold. Some medications like blood pressure drugs can increase one’s sensitivity to cold. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism can also disrupt the body’s ability to adapt to cold temperatures as well. Adults over 60 don’t produce as much heat and may get cold faster and children under 2 don’t yet have the ability to shiver so they should be monitored in cold conditions.
Adjust your fan. Warm air rises. Use ceiling fans to push it back down. To do this, set the fan to rotate clockwise on a slow speed. (In the summer, switch it back to run counter-clockwise to create that cool breeze.)
Block Drafts. Really cold, bitter weather will sneak in under doors. Windows also don’t offer much protection and large windows can cause temperatures in a room to drop. You can find specific draft blockers in stores to prevent drafts coming in under doors, but an old blanket works just as well. For windows, using thicker drapes or curtains, or applying that shrinkable plastic can create an insulating effect and help keep rooms warm.
Limit Shivering. If you shiver, it means you’re cold. Don’t tough it out as it means you’re struggling to maintain your core body temperature. If indoors, add another layer or if needed wrap yourself in a blanket. If outdoors, get out of the cold and maybe find something warm to drink.
Eat well. Even though you may be less active during the winter, you still need abundant nutrition. Greater immune system activity due to increased exposure to viruses and the body’s constant effort to stay warm, nutrition is as important as ever. Although the holidays may offer a time for little indulgences in treats and traditional comfort foods, make sure to include plenty of tasty and nutritious foods at every meal.