Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winter Preparedness Week – A Primer on Wind Chill and Dressing Warmly

REPRINTED FROM Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs Newslink - December 4, 2007

Wind chill indicates how cold people feel while outside. According to the National Weather Service, wind chill is not the actual temperature but rather how the wind and cold feels on exposed skin based on the rate of heat loss. If you are going to be outside in cold weather, the American Red Cross encourages you to:

- Dress appropriately. Air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite.

- Dress in layers to adjust to changing conditions. Avoid overdressing or overexertion, which can lead to heat illness.

- Wear a hat, preferably one covering your ears, because most body heat is lost through your head.

- Wear mittens as they provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.

- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry, and to help maintain your footing in ice and snow.

- After coming inside, immediately get out of wet clothes and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids such as hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol in cases of hypothermia or frostbite.

For more information, contact or visit

Additional information from the American Red Cross can be found on their Winter Storm webpage.

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