Hope for the best, plan for the worst…
A stitch in times saves nine…
It is better to be safe than sorry…
We have many sayings and proverbs that highlight the importance of being prepared and taking proactive measures to prevent serious problems from developing later. Before the coldest months of our Indiana winter strike, it’s best to heed these time-tested adages. One way to do so is by preparing an emergency winter care kit that you can keep in your car or truck.
Now, our office can certainly provide treatment for foot issues that can arise if you are stranded for an extended period in cold weather, but this might entail having to amputate toes that sustained severe frostbite. We would rather know that you were safe and will not need amputation, and we’re pretty sure you would too!
Packing Your Emergency Winter Care Kit
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you will want to include in your care kit:
- Thermal boots. There are many different boot offerings out there, including “Mickey Mouse” boots. In spite of the name, these are serious, heavy-duty boots – the same kind worn by the brave men and women who serve in the U.S. Army. You can find pairs at military surplus stores, or order some online. (The risk of ordering online, though, is not being sure they fit correctly until the boots are actually delivered.)
- Socks. Tube socks might be serviceable enough for some occasions, but you need winter-ready socks in your emergency kit. We recommend Woolie Boolie or SmartWool socks for optimal warmth and protection. Wool socks are ideal because they not only keep your feet warm, but also wick away moisture, which can become a problem in frigid conditions. Be sure to pack two (2) pairs in your kit!
- Hat and gloves. We may specialize in foot care services, but we do care about all of you! Make sure you have a winter hat and warm gloves. When the body becomes cold, blood flow is slowed to the extremities to keep your vital internal organs warm. This means your toes and fingers are at heightened risk. A lot of body heat is lost through the head, but a proper winter hat will help keep it inside – where you need it!
- Hand warmers. Even if you don’t hunt or ski, pick up four of the chemical hand warmers those who participate in these activities use. When the packets are exposed to air, they activate and then stay warm for 4-6 hours. Include at least four (4) of these in your emergency kit.
- Leggings. Now, this might only be applicable to individuals who wear dresses or skirts, but it is still quite important. We understand not wanting to wear a pair of leggings under your dressy clothes in the office. When it comes to survival, though, you will be glad to have those leggings in your emergency winter care kit.
Other Cold Weather Thoughts and Tips
No one ever really expects an emergency to happen—that’s why they are emergencies, after all—but you can take measures to protect yourself in advance (much like we recommend for those living with diabetes). Your winter kit can potentially save your appendages, and maybe even your life, if you were to run out of gas or have car troubles in severe winter weather.
If you are isolated, like on a country road, when this happens, do not wander away from your car. You have a much better chance of survival and being found if you stay put. Too often, individuals will walk away and suffer for it, especially in the wilderness.
Smokers, whether old or young, are at greater risk for issues from cold weather. A key reason for this is a condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Smoking constricts blood vessels, which makes it difficult for blood to flow. There are so many reasons to quit smoking, and you can put this one on the list as well.
As noted, the purpose of your emergency winter care kit is obviously to keep you safe and prevent any potentially serious issues from developing in the cold weather. In the event you do sustain damage to your lower limbs during the winter—or at any time of the year, really—contact our Indianapolis office and Dr. Leibovitz will provide the care you need.
Prevention is better than treatment, but sometimes issues still arise. Accidents happen and conditions develop. When they do, your go-to foot doc is here for you. Call our Indianapolis, IN podiatrist office for more information, or to request your appointment, at (317) 545-0505. You can also contact us online today.