Your mother was right. Remember when our parents insisted that we wear warm clothes and a hat when we play outside? The colder weather is here, and those of us that must work outside must be aware of the effects of cold stress, including hypothermia, trench foot and frostbite.
When most people think of hypothermia, they think of frigid temperatures or blizzard-like conditions. Actually, hypothermia occurs most often in the spring and fall, rather than winter.
Four factors contribute to cold stress: cold temperatures, high or cold wind, dampness and cold water. A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain it's temperature. Cold air, water, and snow all draw heat from the body. Wind chill is the combination of air temperature and wind speed. For example, when the air temperature is 40°F, and the wind speed is 35 mph, your exposed skin receives conditions equivalent to the air temperature being 11° F.So, while it is obvious that below freezing conditions combined with inadequate clothing could bring about cold stress, it is important to understand that it can also be brought about by temperatures in the 50's coupled with some rain and wind.Read more to beat cold stress.