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Tips on how to avoid cold-related illness or injury this winter

Matthew Mostofi, DO is an emergency medicine physician at Tufts Medical Center.Associate Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Matt Mostofi shares tips on how to avoid cold-related illness or injury this winter:

1. Dress warmly. Layers of clothing trap more air and can insulate better that single layers. Wear a hat! There is significant amount of heat lost through you scalp, so keep it protected. Cover your extremities. Fingers, toes, nose and ears are frequent areas associated with frostbite due to reduced circulation as the body shunts warm blood flow to the “core”.

2. Watch out for ice. The most common cold related illness we see in the emergency department are injuries related to falls. Good shoes/boots and be mindful of the ice when walking and driving!

3. Alcohol and cold weather don’t mix. The human body has an intricate safety mechanism called common sense. Unfortunately, alcohol and drug use impair this ability and lead to cold related illness, injury, and unnecessary risk.  

4. Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer, for those who are mindful to stay out of extreme cold. Have you furnaces maintained, no burning of material indoors, and make sure there are working carbon monoxide detectors in the home/business.