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Winter Safety Tips for People with Disabilities

December 31, 2013

If you live in the frigid north, like we do here in Wisconsin, then you surely have had your fair share of below freezing temps. It is all too common for people with disabilities to simply stay indoors during these times. This can lead to boredom, isolation and depression. Rather than avoid these frigid days, embrace them, prepare for them and meet them with vigor and enthusiasm. Here is a collection of tips and must know information that will help you safely traverse through the cold months of winter.

Tip 1: Do NOT wear cotton - Cotton does not have any insulating qualities. It does very little to hold your body heat. Worse yet, once wet, cotton stays wet, which can allow hyperthermia to set in quickly. So, you might consider retiring those cotton thermal underwear you've been sporting.

What type of clothing should I wear in the cold?

Tip 2: Keep your head, hands, and feet well protected - Body heat can easily escape from an uncovered head, and frostbite can set in to exposed hands and improperly insulated feet.

How can I protect my head, hands and feet?

Tip 3: Stay hydrated - Did you know that cold can set into a dehydrated body much more quickly? It is essential to drink plenty of water if you plan to be outside for an extended period of time in frigid tempuratures.

Tip 4: Assemble a Winter Survival Kit and stow it in your vehicle - Storms can roll in and overwhelm a stretch of highway in minutes, leaving you stranded. Keeping a kit handy with a few essentials can make your wait for help more comfortable.

What should be in your survival kit?

  • Water
  • Matches
  • Food
  • Small shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bag
  • Flares
  • Portable charger for your cell phone

    Source: Top 23 Winter Survival Tips for People Living with Paralysis, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

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    [Updated December 31, 2013]
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