The Effects of Extreme Cold


When travelling, you don’t have to be in the arctic or in super high mountains to experience issues with coldness. Very low humidity, heavy rain, and strong winds can lead to so called “hypothermia”, where the due to the cold environment, the body is unable to maintain the heat which leads to freezing of body parts. If the low temperature is prolonged, muscular injury can occur.

For people who are used to with tropical weather may also find uncomfortable to adjust when traveling to areas with cold climates. Because of the gradual exposure from heat to cold, they may get sick or catch colds or flu.

That is why it is encouraged to do a research first and bring the right clothing and equipment before the trip, especially if it is your first time to get exposed with very low temperature. Nowadays, there many new clothing, hand gloves, and particularly footwear that can protect a traveler from cold injuries or hypothermia.

Water Sports

Travellers who will be participating in any sports activities around low temperature water can face a diverse kind of risk. Immersion to these waters can make person feel numb and unable to swim. If this happens, use a flotation device & make sure that the traveler has knowledge on self-rescue & going into the boat.


There are other medical conditions involving cold temperatures which affect mainly the skin e.g. hands, ears, nose, cheeks and feet. The most popular is called freezing injury or frostbite. It is a case where the tissue of the skin has been damaged by being frozen. If not treated immediately, this can be sufficiently severe and many even require amputation. That is why it is crucial not to get frostbite during the travel.

Avoiding Cold Weather Discomfort

  • Dress appropriately – use proper clothing such as water resistant coats, boots, gloves, scarf, mittens, goggles, or mask to cover the mouth.
  • With regards to choosing clothing, avoid cotton fabrics as it acts an insulator that takes away heat from the body
  • As much as possible, wear a head wrap to keep your body heat.
  • Eat hearty foods such as creamy soups, hot chocolate, hot stewed meat, and many more.
  • If any health problem arises, it would be advisable to call your travel insurance hotline. Don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor.

Before you depart for your next trip, make sure you get protected with an affordable and first class international travel insurance such as Allianz Travel. If you are not sure which one to choose, read our travel insurance buying guide here.