A one-two punch of massive storms are currently putting a hurting on the United States, just in time for many of us to hit the road for our annual Turkey Day celebrations. For many of us, travel around the holidays is a painful requirement — but it can get a whole lot more painful if you find yourself broken down on the side of the road in freezing temperatures.

With snow, freezing rain, and high winds effecting communities everywhere from Oregon to New York, there’s a solid chance that you might be in the path of some harsh weather. Whether you’re making the trek to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or staying home to play in the snow, it’s important that you keep an eye out for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, in these sorts of conditions, especially if you’re a parent, as kids can often be affected by the cold in more pronounced ways than us old timers.

In 2004, I found myself hospitalized with hypothermia. I was fortunate to be close to one of southern Vermont’s largest hospitals, and though I don’t recall much of the treatment I received, my family has since told me that it was stellar. I do, however, faintly recall waking up as the nurses cut all of my clothes off of me and realizing, to my abject horror, that I had gone to high school with one of them.

Don’t end up naked and freezing on a table in front of girls you went to high school with.

It’s much easier to just keep an eye out for the symptoms of hypothermia and to take some simple precautions to help keep you safe and coherent when temperatures begin to fall.

Marine Corps Order 3470.1A provides guidance on preventing cold-weather injuries, particularly hypothermia and frostbite. Although you can find similar information from a multitude of sources like the Mayo Clinic and the Center for Disease Control, my penchant for the Naval letter format and the fact that I keep this order, along with a number of others, in a binder in my office helps me retain the necessary wave tops I need to keep my pants intact and on my body during cold-weather activities.

Those nurses aren’t going to get another free show out of me, nor will they from you if you follow these simple guidelines:

Preventing frostbite

Frostbite, as the Marine Corps defines it, is damage caused by the “crystallization of tissue water in the skin and adjacent tissues.” In layman’s terms, frostbite is caused when the water inside your skin and near-surface tissues freezes. Skin exposure at sub-freezing temperatures can cause frostbite anywhere on your body, but the regions that are most commonly susceptible are your hands, feet, and face.