Californians are happy with the recent snowfalls in upper elevations. Not only could it mean the end of our long drought, but also resorts like Donner Ski Ranch and Boreal and Sugar Bowl Resorts are now reporting a solid base and consistent snowfall that makes for great skiing. It’s time to share some frostbite prevention tips so you can stay safe on the slopes.
Before you go:
- Eat a good meal or snack—your body needs energy to keep warm.
- Drink a glass of water before you head out.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco, both of which can increase your risk of frostbite.
- Cover as much exposed skin as possible with a moisture-wicking layer next to your skin, an insulating layer, and finally a water and windproof layer—none of them too tight. (Air pockets between them help insulate you from freezing temps.) This is especially important for face, hands, and feet, and you should also make sure no snow can get inside your boots or clothing.
While you are out:
- Keep drinking water, or have a sports drink before a challenging run.
- Monitor your time outdoors and take frequent breaks when out in frigid temperatures.
- If you find yourself sweating, open one layer or slow down a bit. Moisture and cold can be a deadly combination.
- Know the signs that you are in trouble—redness, then a throbbing, stinging, prickling sensation or pain, and finally numbness and skin changes (yellow or waxy appearance). Don’t let it get to the last stage. If your skin looks red or throbs, head indoors and warm up.
When you come in:
- Remove all damp clothing and footwear as soon as possible and check for redness or other symptoms.
- If you suspect frostbite, don’t plunge your hands or feet in hot water or put a heating pad on them, and don’t rub the skin. Let them warm up gradually in a tepid water bath or wrapped in warm, dry clothing or blankets.
- Have a hot drink or soup to raise your body temp and ward off dehydration.
- If you see any signs of frostbite, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Have fun in the snow, but if your feet need attention, our podiatry office in Berkeley, CA is the place to be. Call (510) 647-3744 to schedule an appointment, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more helpful hints for healthy feet.