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How to Survive the Winter

By Kaylee Schuermann

Outside of the Waldorf University Campus Information Center

BRRRRR! This weather is unrelenting! Harsh winters can be difficult, so it is important to know how to survive the winter.

One tip is to plan ahead of the weather. Check your weather application at least once a day to stay updated on the upcoming weather.

If the weather is going to be bad, then you should schedule around it for your safety. With this being said, do not procrastinate. Changes in weather can happen and put a damper on your plans, leaving you unable to complete your tasks.  

If you must drive in unfavorable conditions, be aware of the snow and ice you could be driving on. Always keep your phone completely charged and your car’s gas tank full in case something goes wrong.

Joshua Hamilton, a Waldorf student and life-long Iowa resident, said his tip to surviving the winter is: “Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Driving in the winter is more difficult and dangerous than any other time.”

There are a number of items you should keep in your car in the winter in case of emergencies, including a phone charger, wool blanket, shovel, ice scraper with snow brush and a flashlight.

You should also have food and drinks in case you are stuck in your car overnight, spare winter clothes for warmth, kitty litter to help get tire traction and jumper cables in case your car battery dies.

Two other necessities to have in your car in case of an emergency are candles and a box of matches. These will help keep you warm for hours—just be aware of where you are placing the candles so you do not start a fire.

You should also avoid going outside with wet hair because it will freeze. Mary Mathiasen, the on-campus nurse at Waldorf, said research has not been able to determine if going outside with wet hair can actually make you sick, but it is best to put a hat on and not risk it regardless.

Mia Finkelston, a board-certified physician, said, “It is important to remember that germs are what cause sickness, not cold weather. However, rhinoviruses, which cause common colds and influenza viruses, which cause the flu, tend to thrive in colder temperatures.”

Staying clean and healthy is another way to survive the winter. By frequently washing your hands and maintaining good personal hygiene, you can help eliminate those germs that strengthen in the winter and cause illnesses.

Eating nutritious meals and drinking plenty of water will also help you stay healthy. Making sure you get seven to nine hours of sleep every night will help, as well.

According to WebMD, “Frostbite refers to the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) that results when the blood vessels contract, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the affected body parts.” At times, it can take just a few minutes to get frostbite, so you should make sure you dress in layers, and be sure to cover your hands, feet, head, and face.

“Dress smart. Eat. Drink. Exercise. Sleep,” Mathiasen said, giving her tips to survive the winter.