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January 13, 2015 4:45 am
When the temperature dips below freezing, it's critical to protect your skin from cold-weather health risks. Amy J. Derick, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University, urges people to dress appropriately for outdoor activities, stay dry and follow these guidelines:
1. Dress in loose, light, comfortable layers. Wearing loose, light layers helps trap warm air. The first layer should be made of a synthetic material, which wicks moisture away from your body. The next layer should be insulating. Wool and fleece are good insulators and hold in more body heat than cotton. The top layer should be windproof and waterproof. A down parka and ski pants can help keep you dry and warm during outdoor activities.
2. Protect your feet and toes. To protect your feet and toes, wear two pairs of socks. The first pair, next to your skin, should be made of moisture-wicking fabric. Place a pair of wool or wool-blend socks on top of those. Your boots should also provide adequate insulation. They should be waterproof and cover your ankles. Make sure that nothing feels tight.
3. Protect your head. To protect your ears and head, wear a heavy wool or fleece hat. If you are outside on a bitterly cold day, cover your face with a scarf or face mask. This warms the air you breathe and helps prevent frostbite on your nose and face.
4. Protect your hands. Wear insulated mittens or gloves to help protect your hands from the cold.
5. Make sure snow cannot get inside of your boots or clothing. Before heading outdoors, make sure that snow cannot easily get inside of your boots or clothing. While outdoors, if you start to sweat, cut back on your activity or unzip your jacket a bit.
6. Keep yourself hydrated. Even if you are not thirsty, drink at least one glass of water before you head outside, and always drink water or a sports drink before an outdoor workout.
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