According to weather forecasts, this winter could last into the early or middle part of spring and snowfalls will be frequent and heavy. Taking few precautions will help you tide over the harsh winter months. Here are some tips for staying healthy and safe in cold weather:
- Dress appropriately when you go outside and try to keep your trips brief. Wear clothes that will keep you warm and dry. Cover your ears, head, mouth, and face. When your body loses heat, shivering sets in and you should take this as a warning to seek indoor shelter immediately.
- Watch out for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. An odorless, colorless gas, CO is present in combustion fumes, such as emitted by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO poisoning symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea/vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Never use these other sources of fuel or electricity inside your home including the basement, garage, or other enclosed structures. Install a CO detector.
- Take safety precautions when you shovel snow. As your body is already working hard just to stay warm, you should be very careful when you over do heavy tasks. Shovel in shifts, take breaks in between, and drink water to prevent dehydration. Avoid twisting motions that can stress your back and push snow instead of lifting it.
- Cold weather stresses the heart. Make sure that you stay as warm as possible, especially if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Be aware of heart attack symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, pain, shortness of breath, and unusual tiredness.
- Get your home winter ready. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls, check your heating systems, and get your car ready for the cold weather. Be prepared for weather-related emergencies including power outages.
Winter is the flu season and you need to take extra precautions to stay healthy. Build immunity by eating well, getting enough sleep, and staying active.