Monday, January 21, 2013 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
Staying Safe in Freezing Weather
Winter and cold weather is a fact of life to many people in the northern part of the world. Freezing weather can mean frostbite and hypothermia unless a person is prepared. Here are some ways to stay warm, dry and safe in cold weather.
Frostbite is damage that happens when skin is exposed to extreme cold for too long. It mainly happens on the hands, feet, nose and ears. People with minor cases of frostbite that affect only the skin may not suffer any permanent damage. But if deeper tissue is affected, a person is likely to feel pain every time the area gets cold.
Damage to blood vessels is more dangerous. This kind of injury can lead to a gangrene infection. Sometimes the only way doctors can treat an injury like this is to remove frostbitten areas like fingers and toes.
Hypothermia is a condition in which the body cannot produce as much heat as it loses. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shaking, very slow breathing and difficulty thinking clearly. If untreated, hypothermia can lead to death. To avoid cold-related injuries, here is a simple way to remember four basic steps to staying warm.
Think of COLD -- C.O.L.D. The C stands for cover. Wear a hat and scarf to keep heat from escaping through the head, neck and ears. And wear mittens which are warmer than gloves. The O stands for overexertion. Avoid activities that will make you sweaty. Wet clothes and cold weather are a dangerous combination. L is for layers. Wearing loose, lightweight clothes, one layer on top of another, is better than wearing a single heavy layer of clothing. And D is for dry. In other words, stay as dry as possible.
For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 02Jan2013)