Monday, January 12, 2015

Combatting Cold Stress

© lugaresi
As temperatures drop across the nation, the threat of cold stress must be kept in check. CDC offers guidelines online to prevent and treat prominent types of cold stress, including hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and chilblains. CDC offers a reference document providing early and late symptoms of each, and first aid best practices.

CDC defines the most common manifestations of cold stress as:

A condition in which the body uses up its stored energy and can no longer produce heat. Often occurs after prolonged exposure to cold temperature.
An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
Trench Foot
An injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions that can occur at temperatures as high as 60 °F if the feet are constantly wet.
Ulcers formed by damaged small blood vessels in the skin, caused by the repeated exposure of skin to temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60 °F.


CDC recommends various of preventive measures to avoid cold stress, including limiting the amount of time one spends outside, avoiding interacting with cold metal surfaces with bare skin and keeping chemical hot packs in a first aid kit.

Of course, the conventional wisdom of wearing clothes that protect the ears, face hands and feet is invaluable. Boots should be waterproof and insulated. Wearing a hat can reduce the loss of body heat from the head.

CDC also recommends carrying extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.