You know those little tidbits of information that your parents give you, and you are sure that they will save your life one day? Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but you catch my drift. Well, my dad told me a long time ago about the COLD acronym that he learned in the army. Every time the weather gets below freezing or I find myself getting dressed for an extended amount of time in the below-freezing temperatures, I remember what my dad told me. With the ice storms moving through the mid-south, consider this to be my PSA to you. You're welcome.
C- Clean. The first step to staying warm in freezing temperatures is to stay clean.
O- Avoid Overheating. If you're outside for an extended period of time while doing something physical (such as skiing, running, working, etc.) pace yourself. If you overheat, your body temperature rises and it speeds up your breathing through the mouth. When you are breathing cold air constantly, your airways tighten making it easier to hyperventilate.
L- Dress in Layers. This one probably seems obvious to all of you. However, it can go deeper than just wearing close to every article of clothing you own. It is very important if you are going to be doing physical activities outside that you wear breathable clothing options. You need all of the moisture whisked away from from your skin, so wear man-made materials, wool, or fleece. Never wear cotton as a base layer. Cotton traps moisture...
D- Stay Dry. ...and prevents the ability to follow the final tip for staying warm. This final point kind of sums up the entire acronym. Dirty, overheated people that wear cotton produce sweat. Sweat is a liquid. Sweat and other bodily fluids freeze. You know how in cartoons when it gets really cold and the characters have icicles hanging from their noses? That's an extreme scenario, but if you're trapped on the side of the road or stranded while hiking, this is a possibility. Make sure that you stay dry!
So there it is. I don't have any medical or military training. This is just what I've been told by my dad who was in the army for upwards of 15 years. If you see any errors in this post, please let me know! And stay safe and warm out there!