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It's Friday again already! I'm not sure how that happened, it doesn't feel like a whole week has passed, and yet it has. In light of the recent temperatures, and the likely hood of more coming this week, I thought I'd pass on some cold weather tips I've discovered.

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I've been putting together a list of cold weather tips for my son, who wants to move up north eventually. As he's autistic and doesn't generalize well and has spent all of his life in Florida, and as he doesn't seem to 'feel' the cold as much, I'm a bit concerned about his safety if he decides to do this after high school.  This is the child who, the other night when it was 22 degrees outside even in Florida, went out in shorts, crocks, and an unzipped coat with no shirt underneath. When I made him come in and change clothes he got a bit snippy. But he seriously has no clue how to dress for cold weather. He has never lived in temperatures where going outside like that, even for a 15 minute walk to the store can cause frost bite and skin damage.

So since most of you are in much colder temps than I am, I thought I'd pass on some of the things I've discovered.

According to the old wisdom about wearing a hat bears true.

You can lose 40 percent to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrists and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. Because there is much blood circulation in the head, most of which is on the surface, you can lose heat quickly if you do not cover your head.
It's also important to know the symptoms of hypothermia:
Slurred speech
Stiff joints
Loss of coordination
Slow pulse
Uncontrollable shivering
Loss of bladder control
Puffy face
Mental confusion
You should also avoid eating snow and drinking coffee or alcohol. The latter two may make you feel warm briefly, but they can cause dehydration and eating snow will lower your core temperature and make you more susceptible to hypothermia.

Remember to dress in layers and carry a blanket or throw with you, either in your car, or in a bag. Or even better, carry one of those reflective thermo-blankets that fold up into a tiny square that fits in your pocket.

Another bit of advice, carry a towel if you're walking or taking a bus, as well as plastic grocery bags. You can put the towel in a bag, folded, and use it as a seat cover over icy bus benches to protect yourself from the wet and cold. If the plastic bag sticks fast, remove what you can and leave the rest, but you can take your towel with you to the next stop. Use the blanket to cover legs and help block wind for extra warmth while you're waiting for the bus. Slick roads can slow traffic and you may be waiting for longer than expected.

Winter tips from NOAA

These are just some of the things I've found and thought out to give to my son before he goes off to live in a colder climate. What other cold weather survival tips do you have to share? How do you stay warm when you're waiting for the bus, or when the power goes out? What do you carry with you?

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