How to stay warm in frigid weather

Contact: Paula M. Davis

Bundled-up student walking on a cleared sidewalk after a heavy snow.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—With frigid weather and wind chills expected to dip below zero this week, the Western Michigan University community is urged to take precautions to stay warm and safe in inclement weather. Frostbite can occur with exposure to extremely cold temperatures.

Dress appropriate to the conditions

Always cover your head, ears and hands when outdoors in sub-freezing weather. Wear a hat or knit cap that fully covers your head, insulated gloves and a scarf.

Layer clothing to prevent chilling and overheating. Three or four relatively light layers are better than one or two thick layers. Outer layers should be loose-fitting, windproof and water-resistant. Remove layers as your body warms to avoid overheating. Perspiration wets skin and clothing, and water conducts heat away from the body about 30 times faster than air at the same temperature.

Proper footwear is extremely important. Frostbite most frequently occurs in the extremities—fingers and toes. Wear socks and "sensible shoes," such as insulated walking shoes or boots, with rubber soles for best footing on icy walks.

For more information on how to stay safe in wintry conditions, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Winter Weather webpage and the National Weather Service's Cold Weather Safety webpage.

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