Man shoveling snow

Dress for Success: Outdoor Winter Maintenance

Snow looks so beautiful as it falls and blankets your exterior landscaping with a pristine, white, sparkling coat. As nice as it is to look at however, some of it has to go, particularly the snow that covers your sidewalks and driveway. Whether you choose to use an old-fashioned shovel or a powerful snow blower to get the job done, it's important to dress properly to avoid overexposure to the elements. Each year across the country, thousands of individuals end up in the emergency room or their doctor's office with injuries or medical concerns related to snow removal. Protect yourself from frostbite and keep warm with these tips on dressing for success.

Dress in Layers

Layering clothing on your upper body helps to protect vital organs from the effects of the cold, while giving you the flexibility peel layers away as your body begins to produce its own heat from exertion. The best fabric choices on base layer is one that can wick away moisture, which can make you feel colder. Additional layers should be lightweight and breathable, to trap warm air, while allowing you the freedom of movement. You may prefer to wear a vest rather than a coat, for a greater range of motion with your arms. An example of adequate layering includes:

  • Thermal, wicking long-sleeved shirt
  • Sweatshirt
  • Insulated vest

Protect Your Extremities

In addition to keeping your torso warm, it's vital that you protect your extremities, including your hands and head. Retain body heat by wearing a warm hat that covers your ears and forehead. If you're outdoors in the snow or freezing rain, wear a hood or hat that is designed to repel moisture to keep you warm and dry.

Hands and fingers are particularly vulnerable to winter weather, making it imperative that you wear a good pair of insulated, heavy duty gloves to protect hands from the cold, and prevent blisters. Gloves should fit well, with enough flexibility to maintain a good grip on handles.

In extreme or windy weather, consider adding a scarf to your ensemble, to protect your neck, and if needed to pull up over the lower half of your face. NOTE: Avoid use of a long scarf if using a snow blower to remove snow, as it may become entangled in the machinery.

Treat Your Feet

Toes and feet are prone to frostbite, and the wrong footwear can leave them directly exposed to the snow and cold. Keeping feet dry while ensuring there is sufficient insulation from the cold is crucial. Insulated socks help to retain heat, and are typically thick enough to repel moisture. Waterproof boots stop wet snow from soaking through to your toes, and should be high enough to stop snow from getting inside. For best results, don't tuck in your pant legs—let cuffs fall to the top of the boot, and secure them with a lace or elastic band.

Additional Tips

Most importantly, listen to your body:

  • Stay hydrated
  • If you can't feel your fingers or toes, it's time to head inside
  • If you're feeling overheated, start by unzipping your outer layer, and remove if necessary
  • A shovel filled with wet snow can weigh up to 25 pounds. If you have any underlying health concerns such as high blood pressure or a heart condition, consider hiring a professional for snow removal services

Stay safe and warm this winter. You can request service from the Mr. Handyman near you or call (877) 256-3376 to get help on your residential or commercial repair, maintenance and improvement projects.