Preventing cold weather injuries

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The most common cold related injuries in the winter are hypothermia, frostbite and chillblains according to Dr. Richard Sheridan, a Physician from TVC who is also a fellow in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He says that cold weather injuries often affect people who don't plan to bring extra gear during outdoor activities or buy cheap ineffective gear.

The most common cold related injuries in the winter are hypothermia, frostbite and chillblains according to Dr. Richard Sheridan, a Physician from TVC, who is also a fellow in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. (Storyblocks Enterprise)

"In an environment as austere as the Great White North where you don't have things, you could be out in a faraway environment from a heat source though if you don't have that equipment with you, you're going to get cold weather injuries," said Dr. Sheridan.

According to the Center for Disease Control those most at risk cold based injuries older adults, babies, and alcohol and drug users. Frostbite can affect anyone but is very likely to occur in those with poor blood circulation.

"Frostbite in mild forms can cause damage to the skin, potentially skin infections as well as a prolonged healing time that can limit your ability to participate in outdoor actives for 6 to 12 months because that's about the healing time that we recommend for the injuries to heal themselves," said Sheridan.

In severe cases, frostbite could lead to loss of extremities.

According to Dr. Sheridan, the best prevention method is to always carry extra supplies In the case of a break down.

"So if you're going out, and its 20 below [zero] on a snowmobile or a ski trip for instance you're going to want to have back up gloves as well as layered gloves, and layers of socks, like a real thin wicking layer and a wool layer as well as appropriate footwear to prevent that stuff," added Dr. Sheridan.

Dr. Sheridan also suggests proper nutrition and hydration for blood to flow properly through the body. Finally, to help someone showing signs of hypothermia or frost bite, keep them as warm as possible and contact 911.

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