Why Wind-Chill Hurts

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ID-100171522Another arctic blast has made its way towards the middle of the country this week, bringing with it frigid temperatures and strong wind gust.  Just because this storm system has not brought any wintery precipitation to the area does not mean it isn’t likely to cause harm and/or injury.  Wind chill alone can be very dangerous and a threat to one’s health, which is why this article will focus solely on the dangers of wind chill.

Family Medical Walk-In Clinic has put together a few educational tips to help you and your loved ones stay warm during this round of winter weather.


What exactly is Wind Chill?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary wind chill is defined as a still-air temperature that would have the same cooling effect on exposed human skin as a given combination of temperature and wind speed.  The National Weather Service defines wind chill as the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold temperatures.  When wind increases, it drawls heat from the body sending skin temperatures down along with the internal body temperature.  Meaning, the wind makes it feel much colder outside.

Calculating Wind Chill

Content provided by the National Weather Service

Windchill (ºF) = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V^0.16) + 0.4275T(V^0.16)

Where: T = Air Temperature (F)
V = Wind Speed (mph)
^ = raised to a power (exponential)

Here is another example of how wind chill affects outside temperatures:  If the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the wind chill is -19 degrees Fahrenheit. At this wind chill temperature, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

Is Wind Chill Temperature Different From Wind Chill?

Wind chill temperature is in fact different from wind chill.  Wind chill temperature is a unit of measurement to describe the wind chill factor. Wind chill temperature is a measure of the combined cooling effect of wind and temperature.

Did you know?

  • Wind chill temperature is only defined for temperatures at or below 50 degrees F and wind speeds above 3 mph.
    • Bright sunshine may increase the wind chill temperature by 10 to 18 degrees F.
  • In order to develop frostbite on exposed skin the air temperature has to be below freezing
  • Wind chill cannot bring the actual temperature below freezing
  • Wind chill only applies to people and animals

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Your heart is already working overtime in colder weather; avoid overexertion (shoveling heavy snow, walking through drifts, trying to push a stuck car).  Any exercise were you over exert yourself may cause a heart attack.  It is also important to note that sweating from overexertion can cause chill and hypothermia.

Dressing Yourself

  • Layers, layers, layers!  We can’t stress this enough
  • Loose fit clothing
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Warm clothing
    • Trapped air between the layers will insulate you
    • If you get hot, you can remove articles of clothing to avoid sweating and becoming chilled
  • Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellant, if possible, hooded
  • Wear a hat (much of your body heat can be lost from your head)
  • Protect your lungs by covering your mouth with a layer of fabric
  • Don’t forget gloves

If you are concerned about what causes frostbite or hypothermia, we have articles for that too, please click on the links below to be redirected:

Winter Safety Tips: Frostbite

Winter Safety Tips: Hypothermia

Stay safe and warm out there friends!! 



About the Author:

Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am the face behind all of articles. I have an undergraduate degree in Broadcast/Journalism with a minor in Marketing. I completed my Master's in Health Communication in 2014. I work for a company called Family Medical Walk-In Clinic that is based out of Southwest Missouri. They are an Urgent Care facility based out of Springfield, MO. We decided to start this blog page to give our community a little something extra. I have found a passion for writing health related articles; I write articles based on what I think my readers want to know and learn more about. I don't want to overwhelm anyone with a bunch of medical terms, so I keep most of my articles simple and to the point. I want to thank those of you who are loyal to reading my weekly articles and also to my new readers. I hope you find this website informative but at the same time enjoyable!

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