Wholly Healthy: Winter Advice

I have taken care of some very, very cold patients over the years. When I was a medical student, there was a man who accidentally bodysurfed a river — in winter, in northern West Virginia. There was one who stood resolutely in the middle of a pond in January, up to his waist in water, until he very nearly succeeded in dying.

But two of the saddest were older individuals. One wandered outside in only a thin gown in the Indiana cold. The other lay inside his house in South Carolina as the temperature progressively dropped because of lack of functioning heat. His body temperature, by the time he was discovered, was in the 70s. Fortunately both survived. However, it illustrates an important point.

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