Sledding, skiing and ice skating are big fun in the winter, but can lead to big injuries, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reminds parents to take steps to help their kids avoid injury and make sure they're dressed appropriately for the cold weather. "This is the time of year when we see people return from winter break vacations with knee injuries from skiing, and hand or wrist injuries from snowboarding. We also see concussions from both these sports," the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness said in a report. "Helmets are important for skiing and snowboarding," an academy news release said. "Gloves with wrist guards are important for snowboarding." The AAP offers this advice for outdoor winter play: Dress children in thin layers with a wicking layer beneath to keep kids' skin dry. Make sure they wear a hat, gloves and boots. Set time limits for outdoor play to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Remind children to come inside every so often to warm up. Only let your child skate on approved surfaces. Make sure they skate in the same direction as the crowd. Never let your child sled near streets, crowded areas, ponds, lakes and trees. Arrange for someone to supervise. Use steerable sleds that are sturdy and do not have sharp edges. Don't use snow disks or inner tubes. Look for qualified instructors and programs designed for children if your child wants to learn to ski or snowboard. Never use alcohol or drugs before any winter activity. Choose safe equipment that is properly fitted when skiing. Use helmets approved for skiing and snowboarding. Don't let children under age 16 operate snowmobiles. Never let a child under age 6 ride on a snowmobile.
Hitting the slopes or the skating rink this winter? Don't let an accident or injury spoil your fun. "Winter sports and recreational activities have great health and cardiovascular benefits," said vice president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). "However, it's important not to underestimate the risks that cold weather can bring." He noted that hospitals and health care clinics see a surge of bone and joint injuries during the winter months and many could be prevented with the right preparation. Sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures and more traumatic injuries can happen to anyone. Here, Bosco and the AAOS offer suggestions on how to protect yourself: Be prepared: Before you tackle a winter sport, make sure your muscles are warmed up and in good condition. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more prone to injury. Make sure to have water and other supplies on standby. Wear appropriate gear: Well-fitting protective equipment like goggles, helmets, gloves and padding is crucial. Your clothes should be layered, light, loose and wind-resistant. Footwear should be warm, provide ankle support and keep your feet dry. Follow the rules: If you're unsure of the rules of your sport, it's time to take a lesson with a qualified instructor, especially with sports like skiing and snowboarding. Knowing how to fall correctly and safely can drastically reduce your risk of injury. Keep an eye on the weather: Warnings about storms and extremely low temperatures are red flags. If you're experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate shelter and medical attention. Use common sense: Always have a buddy when participating in an outdoor sport or activity. If you feel pain or fatigue, don't push yourself and stop the activity. "Don't let winter sports injuries freeze your fun," an AAOS news release said. "By keeping in good physical condition, staying alert and stopping when you're tired or in pain, you can enjoy the best of winter and reduce your risk of injury."
Outdoor activities can help you keep fit this winter, but you need to take precautions to reduce your risk of injury, an expert says. Skiing and snowboarding are good examples. Falls are common in these sports, but proper technique and safety gear can reduce the risk of injury. Each year, nearly 120,000 ski- and snowboard-related injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms, doctors' offices and clinics, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "Ski season is coming and ACL tears are common," said a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament — one of the major ligaments in your knee. "Research has shown that keeping your arms forward and hips over the knees can reduce the risk of injury," an academy news release said. "Many injuries occur from falling backwards and the knee twisting." It's important to make sure your equipment is appropriately adjusted for your ability, he noted. To prevent wrist injuries, which are common among snowboarders, Koh recommends wearing protective wrist guards. Other winter activities can also be risky. Each year, U.S. health care facilities treat more than 20,000 snowmobile-related injuries; more than 23,000 from sledding and tobogganing; and more than 43,500 from ice skating. The report said it's important to always wear protective gear and use it appropriately. If you're new to a sport, consider taking lessons. Before you do any outdoor activity, warm up with light exercise for 10 minutes. Don't overdo activities, and take a break or call it a day when you tire, the release said. Pushing yourself when you're tired can increase the risk of harm to yourself and others. Know and follow all the rules of your sport, the release said. Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you or anyone with you shows signs of frostbite (numbness and skin that is waxy or yellow, gray or blue in color) or hypothermia (shivering, exhaustion, confusion and slurred speech). If it's an emergency, dial 911, the release said.
Healthy looking facial hair starts with healthy skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests some tips to prevent dandruff, ingrown hair, acne and itch under beards, goatees and mustaches, whether you've been growing facial hair for a long time or just stopped shaving during the pandemic. "Whether your beard is close-cropped or full and bushy, skin problems can develop beneath it," said a board-certified dermatologist. "While it's common to limit facial hair hygiene to a rinse in the shower, a few extra steps can go a long way in preventing any issues and keeping your facial hair and the skin beneath it well-hydrated." A report suggests washing your face and facial hair daily. Use circular motions to gently massage a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (formulated so as not to cause blocked pores) cleanser into your skin and beard. Don't forget to rinse it out really well. Then gently pat your face dry with a clean towel. Don't touch or stroke your beard, which can transfer dirt or germs from your hand and cause skin problems, the report advised. Consider using an exfoliating product that contains salicylic acid once or twice a week if you have stubble and are prone to ingrown hairs, the report recommends. Choose a product labeled "gentle" or for "sensitive skin." While your skin is still damp, massage moisturizer through your facial hair to your skin. If you have stubble, don't forget sun protection, he noted. Use a moisturizer containing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Detangle and style your facial hair while it's still wet, using a beard comb. If shaving, apply a fragrance-free shaving oil, cream or gel before trimming or shaving your facial hair, the report suggests. Timing matters. Shave at the end of or right after you shower when your hair is the softest and move in the direction your hair grows. Rinse your razor after every swipe. Apply your moisturizer, beard conditioner, or beard oil immediately after you shave. "It can be tricky to tell what's happening under facial hair," an academy news release said. "If you notice a skin problem under your beard, goatee or mustache or have questions about how to care for it, talk to a board-certified dermatologist."
It's clear that these last couple of years have been tough for a lot of people. So now that it's the week when people make New Year's resolutions, go easy on yourself. If you'd like to make a resolution, start small, the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests. By small, the goal should be one you think you can keep. For example, if you want to eat healthier, don't make your diet a form of punishment -- try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy. If your goal is to exercise more, schedule three or four days a week at the gym, not all seven. That was prior to the pandemic and more recently researchers said she is encouraging people to set resolutions that "offer themselves grace and self-forgiveness." For those who are setting more standard resolutions, change one behavior at a time, the APA recommends. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones can be done over time -- and one at a time -- similar to how unhealthy behaviors develop over time. Share experiences with family, friends or possibly even a support group to help reach goals such as quitting smoking. This makes the journey to a healthier lifestyle easier and less intimidating, according to the APA. Know that perfection isn't attainable and minor missteps are normal, the APA said. Ask for support from those who care about you to help strengthen your resilience, or consider seeking professional help if you feel overwhelmed and unable to reach your goals on your own. Researchers suggests a goal that's more specific to these challenging years, such as a self-forgiveness goal where you allow yourself to be a little late to a meeting so you can finish your coffee before starting work, or pause when you think a family dinner needs to be "just right." Another goal could be gratitude-focused, such as writing down three things you are grateful for each week, researchers recommended. It could be calling or texting someone you haven't talked with lately. Levin noted there are increased rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse as the pandemic continues. "People are searching to find mental stability amid a changing environment. So this year, let us not be our harshest critics," researchers said. "Let us offer ourselves kindness, grace and forgiveness. Let us set those as our resolutions."