Cold weather health warm-up

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The temperatures are dropping this week and, health-wise, it might be time for a little warm-up.

Dr. Thomas Bailey works in the emergency room in Hattiesburg's Wesley Medical Center and he said they always get busier this time of year.

And while the cold weather we've been having is uncomfortable, he says there are some key things to make these temperatures in the 20-somethings, more manageable.

For starters, mittens are warmer than gloves, a half-zip pullover coat will trap heat in better than one with an open front.

"Everybody has a compass and it's just important that you use it," Bailey said.

But even with the right jacket, Bailey says there's no finite number he can give for the amount of time your body can be outside, or the amount of time it takes to warm up

If you're going to be outside in cold weather, weather that dips under freezing certainly, or if you're going to be outside in weather that's around freezing but with high winds or high water, then you need to use your own kind of good judgment. And if you don't have good judgment, you should find someone to take with you who has good judgment," said Bailey.

But some are just more vulnerable than others - if you have arthritis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, if you are very young or elderly.

"They lose the ability to actively kind of re warm themselves," Bailey said. "They don't have the body reserves to boost their metabolism to start cranking out heat like they need to. And often they don't sense the cold as quickly as other people do."

But one of the most basic things you can do is to stay dry. Being wet can be the damper - literally. Your risk of hypothermia shoots up if you're cold and wet, as opposed to cold and dry.

While icy temps can sink your body temp below 32 degrees - Bailey says the cold won't actually give you a cold.

"You hear about cold night air being bad for you and it's really not, it's not going to increase that type of injury," he said.

So even if that means you don't have to bundle up to prevent the common cold - do it to save yourself a visit to Dr. Bailey.

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