So, uh, yeah. I’m an idiot.
I find it annoying to zip up my parka. (I overheat really easily and having to keep unzipping/zipping it just bugs me.) So normally I wear a fleece jacket underneath the parka. Today, I was feeling really warm when I left for work and, since I’d planned on taking a cab to and from work, I decided not to wear the fleece jacket. Even as I made that choice, I knew it was a mistake but I pushed on anyway.
After work, there were no cabs at the taxi stand near my building, the taxi stand that always has cars at it. By the time I discovered that, I had three choices: walk back to the office and call a cab from there, stay outside and call a cab, or take the bus home. I decided on the bus. Unfortunately my gloves and scarf were buried under a lot of stuff in my backpack. The idea of standing in the cold and wind digging through everything to find them was not enticing. It’s only going to be a few minutes, says I. So what if it’s -19 Celsius, -32 with the wind chill.
The first five minutes I was actually quite comfortable. (I told you, I run hot.) Then the wind caught me and I started to feel the cold. (I’m sure the people at the bus stop thought I was insane — or ill — standing there with my coat open, v-neck shirt doing little to stop the wind.) Three bus rides, two very chilly transfers, and a loooong walk through the wind tunnel in front of my building, and here I am, with a wind burn* that I didn’t even know I had until I noticed that the tip of my nose really hurt. (Actually, it hurts and it itches
So, yeah. I learned today that standing or walking in -32 degree wind chill without proper clothing is a bad idea. (I know — bit late in life for me to be learning that lesson.) Researchers have apparently determined that below -27, the risk of frostbite increases exponentially — at -40C, it only takes 10 minutes exposure for you to get frostnipped, the precursor to frostbite.
* Did you know that there’s supposedly no such thing as a wind burn? According to many, it’s really just a sunburn, caused by the wind stripping the UV-protecting sweat and moisture from your skin. I think that’s BS. I’ve had sunburns and other heat or scalding burns before. A wind burn is different. It’s more of a friction burn, kind of like a carpet burn.