PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Frostbite can be prevented. Here are tips to help you stay safe and warm.
- Limit time you're outdoors in cold, wet or windy weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts and wind chill readings. In very cold, windy weather, exposed skin can develop frostbite in a matter of minutes.
- Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing rather than a single layer. Air trapped between the layers of clothing acts as insulation against the cold. Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments to protect against wind, snow and rain. Choose undergarments that wick moisture away from your skin.
- Wear a hat that fully covers your ears. Heavy woolen or windproof materials make the best headwear for cold protection.
- Wear mittens rather than gloves, which provide better protection.
- Watch for signals of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include redness, prickling and numbness.
- Plan to protect yourself. When traveling in cold weather, carry emergency supplies and warm clothing in case you become stranded.
- Don't drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather. Alcoholic beverages cause your body to lose heat faster. Eating well-balanced meals and drinking warm, sweet drinks, such as hot chocolate, will help you stay warmer.
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