Monday 24 January 2011

Oh the North Wind’s mighty gale

bar the door and set the sail…

Today, Monday January 24th is supposed to be the coldest day in the Northeast on record since the 1930s.. Last night my little weatherbug, on the computer warned that the nights temperature would drop to the single digits, actually to 1 degree,(yes you read that right ONE) and when I went to bed last night it was actually already at 10 degrees. the weather is calling for high winds, with the wind chill factor dropping the temp to below zero(0) in some place even as low as -50. 

Now I know many people like to dress "cute" no matter the weather, and if you happen to be one of those, here is how to cure the resulting cold feet or hands; frostbite (on places that one should never get frostbite on) and hypothermia, 
You can also read this as a way to be prepared should you be stuck somewhere for more than a few minutes in this cold weather.

1) Dress in layers, so that when indoors, if needs be, you can remove a jacket, a sweater, long sleeve shirt, and undershirts.  In the cold, the layer will add insulation and allow the sweat your body creates to evaporate instead of drying on the skin.  One would think this wouldn't be necessary to share with grown folks, but as I have seen many people who should know a whole lot better end up in the emergency room seeking treatment, for the beginnings of hypothermia, due to being improperly dressed for the weather. 

2) Wear a hat, yes I know it will give you hat hair, but  consider that anywhere from 7-55% of your body temp is lost through the head. It would be smarter and healthier especially on days like to today to have that 'cute head of hair' covered, or you will be in the hospital with bed head, which sounds worse??

3) Gloves, I know this sounds crazy but frost bitten fingers aren't cute, cover your hands please yes, even you men. Mittens actually insulate more, as your fingers help to keep each other warm.

4) Wear insulating breathable socks and proper shoes, this one goes to all my favorite college co-ed who wear uggs in the summer and slippers (with socks) during the winter O_o

5) Wear a scarf, or a ski mask (just don't run into any banks), a scarf wrapped around your face especially your nose will help to protect your skin from the wind, as well as give your nose a chance to warm the air that your breathing so it's not as cold when you inhale.

6) Your jacket should be wind, and waterproof, while being lightweight & breathable since your wearing the other layers.

if your going to be out for any number of hours, bring extra socks, and gloves to change into. 

Signs and Symptoms of Frostbite, and Hypothermia ( and how to help 'cure' them)
Frostbite happens when your exposed to cold air for a either a short period of time in extreme cold weather, or long periods of time in "nippy" weather. This happens because your body attempts to protect the most vital of organs by cutting off circulation to the extremities, namely: ears, nose, fingers, and toes. In severe case the tissues of the affected parts will freeze, leasing to loss of parts of the body.  

Like burns there are several degrees to frostbite: (each numbered bullet is a degree of severity)
  1. numbness and a loss of color
  2. deep reddening and stiffness in the affected parts
  3. Look out for :
  • pale or purplish waxy skin, sometimes discolored
  • swelling
  • tissue death occurs, and blisters form as dead cells discharge their fluids
  • can become blackened.
  • thawing of the frozen skin can create a painful burning sensation
If it reaches cell and tissue death, medical treatment is necessary.
For the beginnings of frostbite, like the numbness, here are a few natural first aid steps to hasten healing:
  • try to get to a warm shelter as soon as possible, and remove any wet clothing
  • to warm the body, drink hot tea: lemon juice diluted in warm water with honey can supply needed energy and a dose of vitamin C to help resist infections. Add the juice of 1 lemon to 1 cup water.
  •  or clear broth and take a lukewarm bath 
  • if a warm bath isn't available, wrap yourself in a warm blanket
  • Do NOT dunk any of the frostbitten body parts in to scalding hot water, this will NOT  help.
  • DO NOT rub the skin, the friction will advance any damage to tissue instead of helping.
  • DO NOT ingest alcohol, although it may make you feel warm, it actually encourages heat loss and increases the risks of frostbite.
Herbal Healers:
  • Ginko helps to dilate blood vessels and enhances circulation. Take 3-4 capsules daily, or 1 tsp of tincture 3-4 times daily.
  • arnica and calendula make a effective salve for damaged skin
  • Aloe, will help relax constricted vessels. It also boosts the effectiveness of medical frostbite treatments. cut open an aloe leaf and squeeze out the gel. Apply liberally. can use the commercially purchased ones as well. 
Hypothermia is caused by a drop in the bodies core temp. As it drops the body attempts to warm it self by shivering to generate heat. As the temp drops the following happen:
  • Shivering and confusion are key signs that you are going into hypothermia.
  • irregular slow pulse, sluggish reflexes
  • rigidity and edema
  • weak heartbeat, delirium
  • loss of consciousness
  • death
Hypothermia generally has frostbite along for the ride, exposed skin and wet parts will get mild to severe frostbite.
  • Severe hypothermia starting with rigidity need medical attention.  DO NOT ignore the signs. 
  • On a day like today the elderly and children are at greatest risk, check on elderly family members throughout the day, and make sure to bundle children up. the rule of thumb is two layers for every one you wear.
Herbal Healers:
  • Cayenne tincture: a stimulant cayenne help to warm the body system from the inside out, improving blood flow to extremities and organs. Take 1 dropperful every 20-40 minutes in juice or water until body temp rises. (can be found at health food stores)
  • ginger tea, ginger is a great warming herb, ti stimulates blood flow especially to the extremities. Add 2tsp of herb to 1 cup of water, steep 10-15 mins, strain. Sip 1 cup every 1/2 hour. 
  • to prevent cold and other infections after hypothermia, drink teas high in vitamin C, lemon tea, rose hips, hibiscus flowers, chamomile &, peppermint. Mix 2 tsp of each herb into a jar (except the lemon). to make the tea, add 2 tsp of the blend to 1 cup hot water, steep for 10 mins. Drink 4-5 cups daily in sips.
Information from The Guide to natural Healing, cards: Ailments and treatments, frostbite, and hypothermia. And knowledge gleaned from school (and living in NE for 10 years)
Stay warm and healthy my loves
Today is a cold one
Be Blessed 

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