Wherever You Live, You Need to Prepare For Colder Weather.
Granted, the Carolina winters don’t compare to climates up north. That’s doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold enough to make it not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous. Here are some basic tips on how to stay warm and healthy through the next few months on the jobsite.
Many Layers Beat One Heavy Coat.
While heavy coats contain warm air chambers, layered clothing provides various pockets of insulating air between each layer. Layered clothing also helps you to better dial in the necessary level of insulation, protection, and comfort by adding, removing, or replacing items of clothing—like carefully tweaking a thermostat, The best materials for layers are genuine silk, wool, or moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics.
Body Heat: Move It or Lose It.
Sometimes, when it gets too cold, you just want to hunker down and stay still to remain warm. Well, biologically, that’s one of the worst ways to beat the cold. Instead, moving your body not only activates heat-emitting muscles but also increases the circulation of warm blood all over your body. This is why your body’s natural response to being overly cold is to shiver—which is just a method of generating excess body heat. If you’re feeling too cold, consider doing a few jumping jacks, air squats, or pushups to fire up those muscles as well as your metabolic engine.
To Stay Warm…Unzip Your Coat?
While keeping the exterior cold temperatures at bay is great, sweating under your cold-weather gear is not only uncomfortable, but also dangerous. When materials get wet, they fail to properly insulate, leaving you susceptible to discomfort or even hypothermia. It may sound counterintuitive but, at the first sign of getting overly warm in your cold weather gear, regulate your temperature by letting your coat breathe.
Insulate Your Pulse Points.
While an obvious one is your waist, where tucking shirts into pants is key, don’t forget your “pulse points,” wherever you can easily feel your pulse. These include your neck, wrists, ankles, and knees. Insulating these areas can help you feel considerably warmer on the site. Consider coveralls, overalls, or suspenders instead of belts to keep your pants up and your layers secured.
Feed Your Internal Heater with Snacks.
Because food provides energy and energy becomes heat (which is why it’s often measured in “calories”), eating and having food in your stomach is a great way to “stoke the fire” inside of your body to stay warm. So, not skipping breakfast before a shift in the cold and frequent snacking is a great way to beat the cold. While it sounds slightly counterintuitive, drinking enough water is a crucial part of staying warm in cold weather.
Mittens over gloves.
For jobs that require less dexterity, mittens allow your fingers to heat each other. If you absolutely need to use your fingers, however, wearing thinner gloves under your mittens is a good workaround.
Cold Weather Extremity Remedies.
Your hands, fingers, feet, and toes are all susceptible to discomfort or even injury from cold weather. The following are hacks from experienced cold-weather workers.
Change your socks regularly.
Because moisture is the enemy of warmth, it pays to have several pairs of wool socks around for quick changes every few hours or whenever they get wet. Keep them stashed all over and ready to be thrown on at the first sign of discomfort or anytime you take off your boots.
Good boots are worth the price.
There are a few areas where you can afford to be frugal. Boots are not one of them. A reliable pair of cold-weather work boots can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. Also, consider if composite-material-toed boots may be a warm alternative to thermally conductive steel-toed boots. Weigh the pros and cons.
Scarves & Balaclavas.
For the Win: Many make the mistake of overlooking the insulation and protection of the neck and face. For this reason, a long scarf or balaclava can be an immensely versatile piece of cold-weather kit to protect the neck and face from the cold.
Chapstick—It’s Not Just For Your Lips.
Many cold-weather workers swear by using ChapStick on pretty much any exposed area for wind protection and combatting dry skin.
Remember to De-Fog Your Specs.
If you’re moving between temperatures, such as outdoors into a vehicle cab, it is important to treat your glasses or goggles with a de-fog solution beforehand.
Use the Restroom Often.
There is a temptation to put off going to the bathroom when you need to in the cold—after all, those are a lot of layers to get through. However, holding it can make you feel colder. If you’ve ever been camping in winter, you can probably attest to the truth behind this.
Weather can be extremely unpredictable in the Carolinas. Combining the extreme terrain differences that vary from the mountain to the beach, paying attention to the weather and being prepared will pay off in the long run.
For more information on all the products and services Sound Heavy Machinery has to offer, go to www.SoundHM.com