Insect borne diseases, animals’ attacks or illness caused by food are some of the obvious concerns running through a traveler’s mind before embarking on an adventure, but in actual fact it’s often the environment that you’re entering, rather than what lives or is served up there, which can be detrimental to your health.
What I Can Do With Snow & Cold?
A few things are more miserable than your body being exposed to extremely low temperatures when you’re not adequately prepared. If any part of your trip is going to involve snow, ice or below-average temperatures and high winds, then it’s essential that you pack accordingly, unless you want to be at best uncomfortable, or at worst put your health at great risk.
Some suggestions you can do are:
|Gore-tex winter jacket|
• You’re going to need to invest in decent clothing, which can withstand plummeting temperatures and extreme conditions. I’d recommend a Gore-Tex garment, which is waterproof and wind resistant but breathable, and all the necessary accessories including gloves, hat, scarf and quality footwear, which isn’t going to let in water and has excellent grip.
• Bypass fashion stores for all of these items and head straight for your nearest mountaineering or adventure sports shop to ensure you get a high standard; it’s not something you can afford to skimp on.
• If you’re traveling on mountains, exposed hillsides or deserts, it’s essential that you take precautions. Always travel with at least one other person.
• Make sure that someone knows where you’re planning to travel to and roughly how long that should take. Have all the necessary equipment other than clothing, such as maps, compass and supplies, including water and packed food, and plenty of plastic bags to keep everything dry.
• Don’t forget to cover your extremities like fingers, and wear multiple layers of clothing, as this better for trapping heat rather than one big layer. Always wear a hat in the cold, try to keep dry as much as possible, keep active so your circulation is working and eat plenty of carbohydrates as they’re a great energy source for your body.
Some High Health Risks in Cold Climate
Frostbite, which occurs when skin left unprotected freezes rupturing cells and damaging tissue, can vary from superficial harm to permanent damage that can result in gangrene and possibly amputation depending on the length of exposure.
Another risk in cold temperatures is hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s temperature falls below critical level, generally accepted as 35 degree C by medics. It’s foolish to think that hypothermia is something that only happens to extreme mountaineers or off-piste skiers. It’s one of the greatest threats to anyone doing an outside sport.
You might be surprised to (and possibly disappointed) to learn although we assume that a tot of brandy will help warm us up, alcohol in facts dilates the blood vessels to the skin, which causes your body to lose heat.
Getting wet in cool conditions can be fatal. Water takes heat away from the body 25 times quicker than air.
How Can I Fight Heat?
You might have your heart set on coming back from a trip as a bronzed beauty, but being out and about without adequate protection in sunshine that’s much stronger than you’re used to be wise. Extreme sun exposure can be very dangerous. The immediate effects are harming; itchy or burnt skin, which goes red and may blister before peeling, and can be very painful.
• Wear plenty of sunscreen and cover up, especially in the tropical countries.
• Wear a hat to protect the top of your head, long sleeved cotton t-shirt to shield your arms and back, and cotton trousers or long-length skirt.
• Your sunscreen should contain Ultraviolet (UV) A and B protection, be water resistant and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 25.
• Buy a decent sun-glass and wear a wide brimmed hat to reduce the amount of sunshine reaching your face.
• Lips can become sore and cracked if they dry out from sun exposure, so pop a lip balm in your rucksack, preferably with zinc oxide, which is great for protecting sun-sensitive areas.