As a follow up to our last blog post ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ we are pleased to present more winter safety tips!
Outdoor exercise is safe for almost everyone, even in cold weather. But if you have certain conditions, such as asthma, heart problems or Raynaud’s disease, check with your doctor first to review any special precautions you need based on your condition or your medications. Also, always check the weather and factor in the wind chill as this can increase the likelihood of frostbite and always dress accordingly or in extreme situations stay inside.
Hypothermia & Frostbite Also as this season is especially cold, be sure to be aware of symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia.
Symptoms of Frostbite Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also occur on hands and feet. Symptoms include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation in the affected area.
Treatment: Immediately get out of the cold if you suspect frostbite. Slowly warm the affected area – but don’t rub it because that can damage your skin. Seek emergency care if numbness doesn’t go away.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia. Older adults and young children are at greater risk. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include:
Loss of coordination
Seek emergency help right away for possible hypothermia. Depression The cold, dark, and damp weather, shorter days and decreased daylight can have a psychological effect of reducing your tolerance to pain as well as maintaining energy levels. Keeping your mind engaged with things you enjoy, figure out how to get enough sleep, adequate nutrition, and exercise can be beneficial to improving your mood and mentally managing chronic pain. Inflammation and joint pain flare-ups
Many people with arthritis swear by the pain in their joints as a predictor of rainy or cold weather. While there is no clear scientific proof or explanation as to why this is so, most people living with chronic joint disorders, such as arthritis, will agree that there is a link between joint pain and cold weather. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to pick up and move to a different climate. There’s plenty you can do at home to relieve joint pain.
Keep warm: When temperatures drop, try to keep yourself warm. Take warm showers or baths, dress in layers during the day (including gloves and warm socks), use an electric blanket at night, or if able crank up the heat inside your home. A paraffin bath or heating pad can also be used to soothe achy joints.
Keep fit: It’s always important to keep a healthy weight and stay active. Try exercise that’s gentle on the joints, like yoga or swimming. That will help you build up muscle and bone strength. If you go outside to exercise, limber up first with some gentle stretches.
Supplement Vitamin D: Did you know that vitamin D helps to increase the absorption of calcium, ultimately building stronger bones. It also improves the function of muscles, improving your balance and decreasing the likelihood of falls, which can lead to fractures. Seeing as you’re less likely to get enough vitamin D from its natural source, sunlight, in the winter, supplementing vitamin D may help to alleviate some sensitivity to arthritis pain as well as improving bone and muscle strength.
Pain medications: As always, consult with your doctor before taking pain medication and strictly follow the instructions given by your doctor regarding the type, dosage, and frequency of use.
Therapeutic Ultrasound Therapeutic ultrasound such as Sonic Relief works to stimulate inflamed joints and flare ups. When the tissues are stimulated by the soundwaves, it brings blood flow to the area to relieve pain and flush out inflammation