Playing it safe in cold weather

Christmas approaches, and although it is a wonderful time of the year where you can relax with friends and family and use it as an excuse to eat and drink without feeling too guilty, it is also the coldest time of the year in the UK.  With what could be the coldest Christmas on record for decades this year, what can you do to stay safe in cold weather?

child playing in snow

Obviously, families with children will be hoping for snow – children love it and it provides the opportunity for some unique family activities together, such as tobogganing or snowman building. However, you must remember that whilst playing in snow, children must be well protected against the cold: a pair of gloves, a thick coat, waterproof trousers and warm shoes are a must.  Often waterproof over-the-top covers for clothes can be bought cheaply around in December – and they are an invaluable investment over cold or wet months throughout the whole year. Chilblains are the most common cold injury.  The skin may itch, become reddish blue and may swell.  Don’t rub the area – you will cause more damage.  Gently warm the affected area in warm water (which you would test with your elbow like a baby’s bath).  You can expect a full recovery.  If the skin has become frozen – frostbite – you will need to seek medical attention quickly.

Layers are equally important, the more the better.  Lots of thinner layers will insulate body heat much better than just one thick layer – so double layers of socks and shirts are also worth remembering.  Don’t forget your thermos flask of hot drinks: maybe coffee or tea for yourself and some warm fruit squash for younger members of the family (warm blackcurrant was always a favourite of my sons!).

Whilst your family is enjoying Christmas, try to remember any older members of your neighbourhood that might appreciate some extra attention.  There has been a lot in the news in recent years over the rising prices of heating and how many people are struggling to afford to  heat their house.  If you know of anyone in that situation, remember to check in on them and see if they are OK  – can you lend them any spare clothes or help out with extra blankets for them?  Maybe just inviting them over for a warm cup of tea and some company might be all that someone needs to make them feel more comfortable at Christmas.

For those lucky people who are going abroad for Christmas, remember to check and be aware of any precautions you may need whilst out there – for example specialist equipment if you’re going skiing and, as always, plenty of warm clothes.  Check that the lodgings you’ll be staying in will have appropriate heating supplies, or will you have to take a few extra blankets yourself? A few small questions can save days of hassle once you’re out there!

Finally, everyone at Guardian First Aid Training wishes you happy holidays, and hopes that everyone has a brilliant time with friends and family!

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