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      Working in the cold

      Frozen fingers and toes caused from working in the U.P. ice and snow aren't anything new, and this winter is no exception.

      Frigid temperatures and icy snowstorms blanket us, which occasionally leaves us confined to our warm homes. But there are those who must work in the cold.

      James Thompson, a heavy equipment mechanic, says, "My fingers usually is the first thing to go 'cause even though these are regular gloves, your fingers get frozen in them. Trying to hold little bolts and stuff, you got to take your gloves and stuff off to do that, and then your fingers get cold, so I do pretty good. I can work about three hours in this climate here before I have to go inside."

      Stephen Atwood, a manager at The Safety Store, says there is one key thing you can do to keep out the chill of old man winter when you need to work outside.

      "The best thing is wear layers so you can take layers off if you get too warm. But you can't put more layers on if you get too cold if you don't have them. So start off with a bunch of layers and then if you get really cold and you don't have any more layers to put on, go inside and take a break," says Atwood.

      Bonnie Kilpela, a Physician's Assistant at Marquette General Family Medicine, agrees with Atwood, but says that the type of layers you wear play a role in how warm and dry you'll stay.

      "Layer with things that are not cotton," says Kilpela. "The reason being is because if cotton gets wet, it stays wet and it's right next to the skin, so you should wear other fabrics that are more breathable."

      Your extremities are the things that will get cold the fastest, so make sure you have some cozy wool socks on and some thick mittens.

      Staying safe while working in the cold is another thing to think about. Wearing a safety vest outside if you are working near the road or around heavy equipment and a hardhat when working near ice are two things worth remembering.

      For more information on how to keep warm, click here.