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Youth Resources: Tips for 'Winter Wise' Fun Outdoors

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC)-If you are like most teens and tweens in this country, you are among the first to demonstrate just how much fun winter wonderland can be. And you also rejoice in the fact that all-day skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and skating are prime physical activities and therefore good for your health. They are - as long as you know what you are doing.

Take glare, for example. Did you know that the ultra-violet glare from fresh snow and sunshine could permanently damage your eyes if they are not sufficiently protected? Sunscreens and UV-rated sunglasses are as vital in wintertime as they are in summer.

It is also important to know the conditions that might lead to hypothermia, or exposure. Detected initially by shivering, hypothermia occurs when the body can no longer produce more heat than it is losing. Wind, wet and cold are key factors causing hypothermia but it is important to note that this dangerous condition can happen with above-average winter temperatures too. Water absorbs body heat, so be sure to remove and replace wet clothes as quickly as possible.

Teens looking for reliable information to enhance both indoor and outdoor activities, will find www.youth.gc.ca to be a lively and dependable resource. Dedicated health topics for youth are also found at www.healthportal.gc.ca. Here is a sampling of the tips regarding cold weather preparation:

  • Check weather forecasts to anticipate clothing needs throughout the day.

  • Choose activities with warm shelters near by.

  • Remember that the "windchill factor" (wind plus freezing temperatures) means that it may be a lot colder than the thermometer says. Skin freezes much more quickly when the windchill factor is high.

  • Dress in layers of clothing. If you get too warm, you can take off one layer at a time.

  • Wear a hat. Most of our body heat is lost through our heads.

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  • To prevent frostbite, keep ears covered, wear mittens instead of gloves and wear warm, waterproof boots.

  • To prevent hypothermia, protect your feet and hands. Wear loose waterproof boots. If the boots have felt liners, carry an extra pair to replace damp ones. Mittens warm the hands more effectively than gloves. Carry an extra pair of these too.

  • Prevent dehydration and exhaustion, which can lead to hypothermia. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Pace yourself when doing vigorous activity.

  • Stay fit through good physical conditioning and good nutrition. People who are fit are less susceptible to hypothermia.

Canada Information and Services

You can also link to the youth and health resources through the Canada Site at www.canada.gc.ca This is the primary Internet portal for quick, easy and reliable information and services in Canada. Topics for residents vary from health to jobs, to parenting, travel, special interests, public services and more, for residents, non-Canadians and business.


- News Canada