Keeping warm during cold snap
By Robin Scott
The fifty-degree weather in the area early Wednesday seemed to bring everyone outside. The warmer temperatures became the brief backdrop for running errands, stopping to chat with friends and almost instilled a desire to check on the lawnmower. The pleasantly mild weather turned on area residents by 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, however, and winter was back in full swing.
Finding ways to stay warm and cozy on blustery days can be challenging. Area students still need to get dropped off to school, even when the mercury drops below double digits just in time to pack the kids in the family sedan. The wind chill that traveled in with the cold temperatures made for a difficult morning at best. As trees swayed and bowed in the more than 20 mph wind, students walked at a slant into their schools Thursday morning.
The hardest part about surviving below freezing weather is staying warm when going from one spot to the next. No matter how many layers meant to protect against the cold, the cold still manages to creep in and chill to the bone. A few handy tips may make getting outside, even for a few minutes, somewhat easier.
Dressing in layers provides added insulation to the body, and certain parts of the body are more vulnerable than others. Covering the head, ears, neck and hands makes the world of difference for staying warmer longer. Most of the body’s heat is dissipated through the head, just like heat rising in a room. Wearing a head covering keeps heat in where it’s needed. One mistake many people make is neglecting to wear gloves or mittens. Often the thought is that a few minutes out in the cold won’t matter, but even a few seconds in the cold can make a huge difference in staying warm while outside and on warming up once going inside.
Staying dry is also a key element in staying warm. When the body is wet it has to work harder to maintain its normal temperature. If out in the cold that’s also wet or icy, change clothes that become wet. Use clothing that resists water or is water proofed. If feet become wet in frigid weather, no hope of remaining warm is possible. Change to dry socks and footwear as soon as possible.
Warming packs may be a quick solution. They are fairly inexpensive and last for several hours. They may be placed in pockets, shoes and gloves. When the hands and feet remain warm, the body feels warmer longer. Wearing a coat that is long enough to reach midway between the hips and knees is also a prudent idea. Wearing a hoodie underneath a coat goes a long way to keeping the body as warm as possible for as long as possible.
Cold weather brings with it some obstacles, but it also brings an opportunity to sit by the fire, sip hot chocolate and watching a good movie while snuggling up on the couch. As winter drags on and boredom for the indoors takes over consider indoor activities that get the blood pumping. Today’s gaming systems offer a wide variety of fun activities that require action and mobility and may be undertaken by nearly all age groups. If that doesn’t spark an interest, perhaps some early spring-cleaning will warm up the body, and provide a benefit too.
The best part about a Texas panhandle winter is its brevity. Days and nights of nine-degree temperatures are few and generally far between, but the need to stay warm in the panhandle is as important as for those who live in more drastic climates. A cold snap can travel through the body just as fast in Texas as in Wisconsin.