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How to Properly Dress for Winter Weather

Dressing Warm in Cold Weather

When outdoors in extremely cold weather, try to keep trips short and dress for the cold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following warm winter clothing for adults and children:

The CDC and NIH also advise the following for outdoor safety:

  • Outer layers of clothing should be tightly woven and, preferably, wind resistant.

    • Tightly woven outer layers reduce the loss of body-heat caused by the wind.

  • Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers will hold more body heat than cotton.

    • Keep inner layers light and warm.

  • Stay dry.

    • If your clothes get damp or wet, make sure you change your clothes right away.

Remove extra layers of clothing when feeling too warm. Sweat can increase heat loss.

Staying Safe Exercising in Cold Weather

The NIH provides five tips for exercising safely during cold weather.

  • Stretch

  • Walk in place

  • Dress in several layers of loose clothing to trap warm air.

  • Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it is snowy or rainy to help you stay dry.

  • Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves

  • Ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches can lead to injury.

  • If it’s too windy, cold, or wet, opt for an indoor workout.


Did you know several hundred people in the U.S.–half of them age 65 or older, die from hypothermia each year?

Hypothermia is a cold-related condition of having an abnormally low body temperature. Hypothermia can occur indoors or outdoors when temperatures are cold and/or a person is chilled from rain, snow or sweat.

Early signs

  • Cold feet and hands

  • Puffy or swollen face

  • Pale skin

  • Shivering (not always present)

  • Slower speech or slurring words

  • Acting sleepy

  • Being angry or confused

Later signs

  • Slow or clumsy movement, trouble walking

  • Stiff and jerky arm or leg movements

  • Slow heartbeat that is not regular

  • Slow, shallow breathing

  • Blacking out or losing consciousness

Dressing Warm Indoors

Older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what's happening.

  • For this reason, even while at home, take steps to stay warm.

    • Set the heat in your home at 68 degrees or higher during cold weather.

    • Dress warmly, even with the heat on.

      • Wear socks

      • Wear slippers

      • Wear a cap or hat

      • Dress in layers

      • Cover up with blankets


Cold temperatures and increased wind speeds can cause rapid heat loss. Whether indoors or outside, exposure to the cold can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening health problems. This is especially true for infants and the elderly.

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe this winter by properly dressing for the winter weather both indoors and outdoors. Keep your home temperature at 68 degrees or above and bundle up. You may not notice when your body is becoming cold.

When heading outside, dress in layers and put on your wind and water-resistant coat. Cover your head and neck and keep your feet dry. If heading out to exercise or shovel your driveway, keep in mind this advice from the CDC.

“Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.” - CDC

When traveling in your car, consider the possibility of winter travel problems. Keep your gas tank near full and stock your car with warm blankets and extra dry clothes. Travel safe this winter and dress properly for the freezing weather to stay warm and prevent injury.


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