Schnapps anyone? Red Cross busts winter-safety myths

ST. GEORGE – The American Red Cross offers the following winter safety tips and cautions.

  • Myth:  A flask of Schnapps in the parka helps keep you warm
    • Fact: Alcohol actually causes the body to lose heat
  • Myth: Rubbing frostbitten areas of the body with snow is a good emergency measure
    • Fact: This actually can cause more damage
  • Myth: Wind chill just makes it feel colder but does not worsen the effect on body heat loss
    • Fact: The “feels like” temperature has the same effect on the body in terms of heat loss, frostbite, hypothermia, et cetera as if that were the actual temperature
  • Myth: Treat frostbite with hot water
    • Fact:  Because of numbness, hot water can be dangerous; instead, warm the area with water that is lukewarm or with body heat such as the heat of the armpit
  • Myth: Lake ice that has been frozen a long time is safer
    • Fact: Ice frozen for two weeks under same conditions and thickness is at the optimal safety level;  furthermore, river ice can be far more dangerous
  • Myth:  Gas mileage for cars is consistent anytime of year
    • Fact: Gas mileage decreases with cold weather
  • Myth: A fireplace is a good economical way to heat the house
    • Fact:  An open fireplace is an energy loser with most heat going out the chimney; keep the damper tightly closed when not in use as hot air rises anyway
  • Myth:  Space heaters save money
    • Fact: While they serve the purpose of supplemental heat in more confined areas they are not efficient at all and also can be a safety hazard

Did you know?

  • An improperly vented fireplace can cause carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Prewarming your car in the garage without proper ventilation is extremely dangerous
  • Avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on skin while de-icing or fueling car or snowmobile or blower as these materials in contact with skin increase heat loss
  • Letting a faucet drip slowly prevents freezing
  • For pipes located in walls behind kitchen cabinets, leaving doors open helps prevent freezing
  • Infants and the elderly lose body heat more easily than adults and are more at risk
  • Frozen rivers are more dangerous that frozen lakes

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  • sagemoon December 4, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Alcohol may contribute to body heat loss, but it contributes to my well being by helping my brain forget about the cold. Cheers!

    • Herd December 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Liquor is quicker!

    • Brian December 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Dear Sagemoon, Your application for the Darwin Award has been accepted. You’ll be the first to know if you’re chosen. Sincerely, the Darwin Advisory Committee.

      • mesaman December 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm


      • sagemoon December 5, 2014 at 10:06 am

        LOL, I would be honored! Pass the salt and limes, please.

  • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 4, 2014 at 11:08 am

    LOL, who the heck is rubbing snow on frostbite? Is that a utah thing?

    • Liesa December 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I’ve heard it in other states. It’s bad news no matter where you live or where you visit.

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