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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Baby it’s cold outside!

Published in Trauma Services, General, For the Health of It Author: Kevin Sirmons,MD

This is a great time of year to be enjoying the peace of the frosted woods while snow shoeing; catching fish on one of Minnesota’s beautiful lakes, or soaring down the hill on skis or snowboard.

When outdoors during cold weather take precautions and keep in mind these tips:

  • Protect from dehydration. For children, schedule times for drinking fluids. Adults should drink ½ to 1 quart per hour, during heavy workloads.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These are diuretics and increase urinary loss of water.
  • Buddy checks, patrol leader or parental checks are important when out with a group in cold weather. Enforce rules for children in the cold. Immediately treat persons showing any signs/symptoms of cold injury. Each individual should carry a cold-weather survival kit at all times.
  • Nutrition: Adults should have an intake of 3,000-4,000 calories a day when working hard in cold environments. Increase food calorie intake to 1.5-2 times normal daily intake when working in the cold.
  • Limit exposure if possible. Divide tasks into shorter segments to allow for re-warming breaks. Rewarm gloves/footwear, and change them during these breaks to allow drying. Use a two-team approach; one team works while the other rewarms. In the best case scenario, evaluate if you need to be out in the cold.
  • Dressing for the COLD:
    • Keep clothing Clean
    • Avoid Overheathing
    • Wear clothing in Layers
    • Keep clothing Dry
  • Make wise clothing choices:
    • Change socks often and use synthetic fibers. Synthetics have better wicking ability to get sweat away from skin, versus natural fibers.
    • Cover your head and neck.
    • Loose, layered, windproof. Change often if needed to stay dry and warm.
  • Layering Tips
    • First layer (closest to skin): Polyproylene underwear, tops and bottoms
    • Second layer: Wool
    • Third layer: Jacket liner
    • Fourth layer: GoreTex parka and pants
    • Footwear/headwear
    • Vapor barrier boots: ensure they are dry inside. Dry out nightly. Use foot powder and antiperspirant when possible. Change your socks every four hours to keep them dry.
  • Protect hands with mittens that fit loosely. Keeping fingers close together will decrease heat loss. The separation of fingers in gloves allows for conductive and convective heat loss between the fingers.

We live in a cold climate so enjoy the season, but stay safe!

Read Part 1 to learn about injuries related to cold temperatures and read Part 3 to find out the top 5 ways bodies lose heat.