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Dress right and you’ll avoid frostbite

See, there is cute winter apparel that’ll protect you from winter. Now’s the time to be wearing it.  |  AL PODGORSKI~SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Riding the L last night I saw them, the ones who think they’re too cool for winter.

No matter that the temperatures were heading to the single digits and snow was on the way. There was the young woman in her black PF Flyers, another 20-something female in her cute patterned leggings, the guy with the perfectly coiffed hair no hat was going to damage who couldn’t be bothered by gloves, either.

You know them, the trendy types who dress to be noticed. Everyone in my L car looked at them, alright. And I bet we all were thinking the same things: those fools are gonna freeze.

There are days for looking stylish, but as Chicago faces more snow, plummeting thermometer readings and merciless winds, these aren’t those times. The worst thing is not that that the trendy types folks look silly to those of us who know better. They could be setting themselves up for frostbite.

Don’t scoff. Frostbite is a real possibility in weather like this, according to Dr. Arthur Sanford, of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns at Loyola University Health System. It’s not just that it’s cold out; it’s cold and wet. If those stylish gym shoes get wet while you stand on the L platform, you could be a candidate for frostbite, Sanford says. And you in the cotton leggings? Sanford’s treated people for frostbite on their legs because they, too, were wearing cute leggings in brutal temperatures.

And cool dude exposing the ears and fingers? Not cool, according to Sanford. Exposed extremities are particularly vulnerable. Cover them up!

Here’s Sanford’s apparel recommendations for winter:

  • Dress in layers. That way if something gets wet you can take it off and remain dry.
  • Hats, gloves, scarves are musts. Look around; you’ll find cute possibilities. True, smashed hat hair probably will happen. But what’s worse: a bad hair day or losing the tips of your ears, Sanford asks.
  • Proper footwear is another must. Not only boots, but weather-appropriate socks. (This is not the time to be wearing those short tennis socks outdoors.)

One thing to avoid: the fingerless gloves that make texting so easy. They also make frostbite easy, according to Sanford.