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Winter Safety

Graphic image of a snowman with text that reads The Department of Defense has taken great care to train and teach our Service members how to prevent cold weather injuries.  The Medical Health System would like to emphasize those same facts that apply during missions and duty and highlight their use during off-duty activities.  The winter months are a great time for outdoor activities provided you are properly prepared for the elements.  Simple tips like dressing in layers, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake and being aware of the weather can prevent Hypothermia, Frostbite and muscle strain due to overexertion. 

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Five cold seasons: July 2012 – June 2017, Cold injuries during deployments

Infographic
11/3/2017
During the 5-year surveillance period, 105 cold injuries were diagnosed and treated in service members deployed outside of the U.S. Of these 105 cold injuries, 68% occurred in the first two cold seasons. Total no. of cold injuries, by season: •	35 cold injuries during cold season 2012 – 2013 •	36 during 2013 – 2014 •	13 during 2014 – 2015 •	11 during 2015 – 2016 •	10 during 2016 – 2017 The decrease in the number of cases is most likely a byproduct of: •	The dramatic decline in the number of service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan •	Changes in the nature of military operations there Access the full report in MSMR Vol. 24 No. 10 October 2017 at Health.mil/MSMR Pie Chart showing cold injuries during deployments: •	39 Immersion •	33 Frostbite •	17 unspecified  •	16 Hypothermia Background image shows service member walking in the snow.

This infographic documents cold injuries during deployments outside of the United States for the July 2012 – June 2017 cold seasons (five-year surveillance period).

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Winter Safety

Winter sports safety: Got a helmet?

Article
2/2/2017
Army National Guard Spc. Charity McGeary, a combat medic with the 856th Military Police Company, does a backflip on her snowboard at Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona. About 20 percent of skiing or snowboarding injuries are head injuries. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Barbour)

Most people don’t associate winter sports with concussions the way football, soccer and lacrosse are

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Winter Safety | Traumatic Brain Injury

Tips for staying safe and healthy during winter

Article
1/25/2017
January is Winter Safety Month. With snow and other weather hazards, winter carries with it a unique set of issues that can impact health and overall well-being. (DoD photo by Rachel Larue)

With snow and other weather hazards, winter carries with it a unique set of issues that can impact health and overall well-being

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Winter Safety | Physical Activity

Cold injuries among active duty U.S. service members drop to lowest level since winter 2011–2012

Article
1/23/2017
U.S. service members often perform duties in cold weather climates where they may be exposed to frigid conditions and possible injury.

Cold injuries among active duty U.S. service members drop to the lowest level since winter 2011-2012, according to a study published in Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) peer-reviewed journal, the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report.

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Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Winter Safety

Winter-workout tips

Article
1/12/2017
Soldiers of the Army Reserve Medical Command participate in the 2-mile run as part of the Army Physical Fitness Test. With fewer hours of sunlight in the winter months, you might be walking or running when it’s dark out — even at dusk and dawn. Wear reflective gear or a headlamp to stay visible. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz)

It can be extra challenging to get outdoors and exercise in the winter

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Physical Activity | Winter Safety | Human Performance Resource Center

Human Physiologic Responses to Cold Exposure

Infographic
1/9/2017
Human Physiologic responses to cold exposure preserve core body temperature, but those responses may not be sufficient to prevent hypothermia if heat loss is prolonged. This infographic offers helpful information on preserving core body temperature to counter the threat from cold environments. Physiologic responses include: •	Constriction of the peripheral (superficial) vascular system – may result in non-freezing injuries or hasten the onset of actual freezing of tissues (frostbite) •	Minimizing loss of body heat •	Protecting superficial tissues Protection includes:	 •	Nutrition •	Shelter •	Physical Activity •	Protective Clothing Learn more about preserving core body temperature by reading the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report at www.Health.mil/AFHSB

Human Physiologic responses to cold exposure preserve core body temperature, but those responses may not be sufficient to prevent hypothermia if heat loss is prolonged. This infographic offers helpful information on preserving core body temperature to counter the threat from cold environments.

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Winter Safety | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Facts on Cold Injuries

Infographic
1/9/2017
During a July 2011-2016 five-year surveillance period, overall incidence rates of cold injuries among U.S. service members declined for the two most recent winters after having peaked in winter 2013-2014. That year much of the eastern U.S. experienced colder-than-average weather attributed to a weakening of the polar vortex. More facts to know: •	For the Navy and Air Force, the rates of all cold injuries in 2015-2016 were the lowest of any year of the surveillance period. •	The 2015-2016 rates for the Army and Marine Corps were lower than the rates for the previous two years but still higher than the rates for the first two years of the surveillance period.  At war, the numbers of cold injuries associated with service in Iraq and Afghanistan have fallen precipitously in the past four cold seasons. The 11 cases in the most recent year are the fewest in the surveillance period.  For more information on cold injuries among U.S. Armed Forces, read the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report at www.Health.mil/AFHSB

This infographic provides information on the overall incidence rates of cold injuries among U.S. service members during a July 2011-2016 five-year surveillance period.

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Winter Safety | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Protect your skin in the colder months

Article
1/5/2017
Frostbite, an injury to the body caused by freezing is a concern.  Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and even lead to amputation of a limb. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Issac Velasquez)

Your skin needs care no matter what the season

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Winter Safety

Build a Winter Emergency Kit

Infographic
12/1/2016
Winter Emergency Kit Infographic

Tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for building a winter emergency kit.

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Winter Safety

Preparing for Winter driving

Article
11/23/2016
Winter defensive driving is more than just maintaining control on snowy, icy roads. It begins long before you get into your car, buckle your seat belt or start your engine.

Winter defensive driving is more than just maintaining control on snowy, icy roads

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Winter Safety

Safeguarding readiness during winter

Article
10/24/2016
Although anyone can suffer a cold weather injury, some Soldiers are more at risk than others. Previous cold weather injuries, drinking alcohol, using nicotine, dehydration and long exposure to the cold are some of the factors that could jeopardize a Soldier's health. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Wayne Becton)

As cooler weather approaches, it's crucial that Soldiers understand the importance of protecting themselves to avoid becoming a cold weather injury statistic

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Health Readiness | Winter Safety | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Daylight deprivation causes depression during autumn, winter months

Article
1/7/2016
Military personnel can suffer from a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD, which results from a lack of daylight during the cold, dark months of autumn and winter.

Lack of daylight brings with it “dark days.”

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Mental Wellness | Winter Safety | Mental Health Care | Operation Live Well

Military neurologist offers advice for care of a head injury after a slip and fall

Article
1/6/2016
Plow truck in snow

Winter time slips and falls could result in more than just an embarrassing bump to the head. Know how to recognize a concussion.

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Traumatic Brain Injury | Winter Safety

Peak nutrition in cold weather

Article
1/6/2016
Paratroopers with U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division ski across the drop zone during Exercise Spartan Pegasus in Deadhorse, Alaska.

Daily exposure to cold weather can increase your nutritional needs

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Nutrition | Physical Activity | Human Performance Resource Center | Winter Safety | Operation Live Well

Winter Running Tips

Infographic
1/5/2016
infographic showing tips for staying warm and safe while exercising in the cold.

Stay safe and warm while exercising in the cold.

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Winter Safety
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