Outdoor Insurance Group. We are experts in outdoor adventure insurance, outdoor recreation insurance, and everything outdoors. Safely enjoying winter activities means knowing the risk factors and preparing ahead to guards against weather related illness and injury.
Our clients for hunting guide insurance, fishing guide insurance, snow mobile insurance, and more, are skilled outdoorsmen, and they know that seasonal temperatures can pose risks to everyone.
Here are the top winter weather dangers to be aware of when you venture outdoors. A few precautions can help keep outdoor recreation activities safe from cold weather risks.
Frostbite occurs with prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures freezing the skin. Body extremities are most susceptible including feet, nose, hands and ears. When your body freezes, blood vessels contract and oxygen to these areas is restricted because they are further from a body’s core.
Frostbite often firstly goes undetected because it causes numbness. With immediate medical attention, most people recover from frostbite. However, in cases of severe frostbite, harmful damage is possible and can lead to amputation.
In winter weather, a person’s body can lose heat faster than they can produce it, resulting in hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. It can happen gradually, causing tiredness, slurring of speech, and confusion, and may not be immediately recognized. With worsening conditions, the heartbeat can be dangerously slow.
- Colds and flu
Colds and flu are not just winter afflictions, but colder temperatures pose more of a risk and are more prevalent in winter. The symptoms for cold and flu can be the same, but flu symptoms are generally worse and can last up to a week, a few days longer than the average cold. Symptoms often begin with a sore throat, head and body aches, runny nose and sneezing and a fever. Both illnesses may need to be treated with medicine.
- Heart Attacks
It’s true that there are more heart attacks during winter months. Cold weather can increase blood pressure and put strain on the heart. In addition, the heart has to work harder to retain body heat when it’s cold. Warning signs to look out for are irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Seeking immediate medical assistance when in jeopardy of a heart attack can be lifesaving.
Steering clear of slippery surfaces is the best way to avoid an injury, but snow and ice can add to the fun in some cold weather adventures. Risk of injury can be decreased by wearing footwear that is designed for the cold. The best winter shoes or boots are fitted with heavy duty textured soles for a better grip. Along with maintaining your balance, stretching muscles to improve flexibility before leaving home is always a good idea.
Protection against the climate is the key to minimizing the risks of all of these hazards. Staying warm and dry with hats, gloves, scarves, layered clothing and winter footwear can combat the cold. Being exposed to fresh air, sunlight and the outdoor activity of choice can fill the spirit and warm the heart.