Winter Blog 2018

It comes every year so don’t be too surprised.

Rain, sleet, snow, ice, and darkness.

All familiar and all with a challenge.

Hypothermia, the condition of low body temperature, is the main peril of rain, sleet and snow.

If you get too cold, all the systems in your body do not work well. It rather quickly leads to weakness, loss of coordination and inability to think clearly. If you are alone, it can be difficult to self-rescue. Prevention is the key: Dress for the weather you fear. Generally, a wind and waterproof outer layer, then sufficient insulating inner layers to stay warm. You want to stay dry because you lose heat very rapidly from a wet body. A balaclava, face covering or equivalent is suggested when it starts to get quite cold. Obviously, adequate gloves or mittens, and shoes or boots are needed.

A diet higher in protein will aid in keeping the metabolic furnace output high and keep you warmer. Alcohol in any form increases heat loss; it will not keep you warm and will increase your chance of hypothermia. Though with enough alcohol inside, you may not care or be aware enough to know that you are getting dangerously cold.

I have seen enough broken bones, hips and sprains to know that a slip and fall from icy conditions is too common. Prevention is key. Crawling will work in an extreme situation! I suggest using a slip-on crampon that goes over shoes or boots. They work well with minimal inconvenience. They are so effective that in some Arctic communities they are given away to some of the residents.

Darkness is a underestimated winter variable. The loss of joy, the restlessness, anger, and depression should not be discounted. Broadly speaking, our geographic migration has outstripped our genetic makeup. People freak out in both the extremes of the long Arctic winter and summer. Twenty-four hours of darkness or light is not psychologically comfortable for most people.

Exposure to bright light of sufficient (individual) duration is the treatment for shorter days. Buy one and follow the exposure directions. They work!