"Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them o'er your shoulder like a Continental Soldier?
Do your ears hang low?"

… and while we’re asking – are they frostbitten?  Jack Frost will nip them just as surely as he will nip at your nose and we have 2 of them! Frostbite is a common but often underestimated condition that outdoor enthusiasts risk during winter. While it commonly affects the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks and ears, some of these (like ears) are often overlooked.


  • Single-digit Fahrenheit temperatures
  • Exposure of more than ½ hour
  • Wind chill factor below 0° F temperatures
  • Poor circulation from too-tight clothing
  • Prior medical conditions like diabetes or Reynaud’s Disease
  • Higher altitudes that contain less oxygen
  • Alcohol consumption (despite its initial warming effect)


  • Numbness
  • Painful feeling of “pins and needles”
  • Hardening of the skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Swelling
  • Loss of coordination like stiff movements or falling down


  • Limit outdoor time in cold, windy weather
  • Layer loose, warm clothing that can trap warm air that insulates your skin
  • Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves in order to keep your fingers touching each other
  • Wear moisture-wicking under garments
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Keep moving

The long term consequences of severe frostbite include permanent damage to skin, muscle, bone and other tissue. If you experience pain as you re-warm the site of the frostbite this can be a symptom of the ice crystals that formed in your blood from the cold. The danger to your body includes the possibility of gangrene which is the death of the tissue.

All of which is to say how fortunate it is that the apparel industry has evolved to accommodate outdoor enthusiasts. New fabrics and designs make it stylish and affordable to protect your body as you enjoy all the treasured opportunities that Mother Nature provides in winter as we all …



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