Bitter cold weather has been prevalent across this country this winter, causing problems for workers who spend their days outside. TCIA wants you to take precautions against cold-related health problems.
How to Protect Yourself
- Recognize conditions that may be dangerous. Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help yourself and others.
- Wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions. Don’t overheat to the point that you sweat, because this will eventually make you cold. Avoid cotton clothing that holds moisture, and choose wool or synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away.
- Up to 70 percent of your body’s heat is lost through your head, so keep your head and other extremities warm.
- In extreme conditions, take frequent, short breaks somewhere warm and dry.
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue, because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
- Drink warm, sweet beverages and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Forget your Atkins Diet and eat warm, high calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.
- Remember, workers face increased risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
Don’t forget - Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, exposure can be deadly! Extreme danger signs include signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help.
*The original version of this article ran in the TreeWorker in December 2009.