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Winter warnings

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

Cold stress

If you work outside, you should take precautions to avoid frostbite, hypothermia and other winter hazards.

Frostbite, damage to body tissue, creates a loss of feeling or pale appearance in the extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. A wind chill of 20 below zero will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes.

Hypothermia, which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, can be deadly if not treated quickly. Early signs include memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.

If you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, notify your supervisor and seek medical attention immediately.

The best way to dress for winter is in layers, which provide insulation and help retain body heat. Avoid pure cotton, linen, or similar materials because they retain moisture and can cause you to become colder.

The Postal Service has prepared a stand-up talk on the importance of layering, staying dry and protecting your extremities during inclement weather. USPS also has released a poster with tips to prevent cold stress.

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