Winter 2016 Survival Guide: Hypothermia, Slipping & Dehydration

We caught a lucky break last weekend by avoiding Winter Storm Jonas, which led to a travel ban in both New York City and Baltimore. Other mid-Atlantic cities, such as Philadelphia and Washington D.C. were also ravaged by snow, suffering up to two feet of snow in certain areas. As of January 26th, 46 people have died as a result of the snowstorm, due to causes ranging from slipping on ice to roofs collapsing. While we should be thankful that we avoided the blizzard, we should consider it a warning shot, as we are now due for a winter storm of the same caliber as Jonas.

To help get you through another winter, here’s a survival guide that covers the non-illness hazards of winter:

  • Wear warm clothing so you won’t get hypothermia. People develop hypothermia once their body temperature drops below 95°, leading to a slower circulation of blood, which causes if not promptly cared for. Avoid hypothermia by:
    • Wear mittens instead of gloves. While gloves are better for winter activities like skiing and hockey, they limit the fingers’ range of motion, which constricts blood flow.
    • Avoid getting your clothes wet, as people can develop hypothermia in even 45° temperatures as long as their clothes are wet.
    • Wear undergarments such as long underwear – preferably made out of fabrics like polypropylene layers, wool or silk.
  • Avoid slipping by wearing slip-proof soled boots. It’s also good to have waterproof boots as well.
  • Look up the wind chill before going outside.
    • If it’s 0° outside, but the wind’s going 10 mph, the air actually feels like it’s -16°.
  • Prevent frostbite by moving around when you’re outside. The more you move around, the harder it is for frostbite to develop.
    • If you’re sitting on a chairlift on a ski trip, wiggle your toes around as the toes are among one of the most common places people get frostbite.
  • Stay hydrated while you’re doing any physical activity outside
    • Remember: the winter air is extremely dry, making it easy to get dehydrated without knowing it.
    • Don’t overexert yourself while you’re shoveling. If you’re dehydrated, it’s easy to become light-headed and injure yourself

If you feel as if you’re dehydrated, visit us at AFC Urgent Care Watertown. We additionally provide diagnosis and treatment for a number of winter-related injuries or illnesses. Simply walk in to our facility any day of the week – with no appointment necessary! To speak with one of our medical professionals, call us at 617.923.2273.

We look forward to helping you make it through the Winter of 2016!


3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

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Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

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