Cold Stress – Protect Yourself

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How to protect yourself in cold environments.

  • Wear several layers of loose clothing.
  • Avoid tight or restrictive clothing.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear insulated, waterproof boots.
  • Protect your ears, face, and hands.
  • Limit the amount of time spent in cold, wet environments.
  • Move into warm, dry locations during breaks.
  • Drink warm liquids.
  • Carry extra socks, gloves, hats, jackets, blankets, and a change of clothes.
  • Include chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.
  • Do not touch cold metal surfaces with your bare skin.


Signs that you are suffering from cold stress:

  • Hypothermia (a medical emergency):
    • Shivering at the onset but not later
    • Fatigue, confusion, and disorientation
    • Blue skin
    • Dilated pupils
    • Slowed pulse and breathing
    • Loss of consciousness
  • Frostbite:
    • Numbness
    • Aching
    • Tingling or stinging
    • Bluish or pale, waxy skin
  • Trench foot:
    • Reddening, numbness, and swelling
    • Leg cramps
    • Blisters, ulcers, or gangrene
    • Bleeding under the skin
  • Chilblains:
    • Redness, itching, and blistering
    • Inflammation
    • Possible blistering and ulceration

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