(RxWiki News) Whether you’re ready for them or not, the winter months are upon us. It’s time to make sure your family knows how to stay safe and healthy this winter.
Follow these steps to keep yourself and your family safe this winter.
In cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat at a much faster rate than it can produce heat. As a result, you may be at risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite. Some people face a higher risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Those at higher risk are older adults who do not have proper food, clothing, or heating, those who stay outdoors for long periods (hikers and hunters) and infants sleeping in cold rooms.
To stay safe, dress appropriately when you head outside. Proper dress may include the following:
- A hat
- A scarf or knit mask to cover your face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens, which are warmer than gloves
- A water-resistant coat and pair of boots
- Several layers of loose-fitting clothing
In addition, cover the following parts of your body, which are often affected by frostbite: nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin and fingers. If a person is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate medical attention.
Prepare Your Home
As the temperature drops, more people tend to stay indoors. As a result, it is even more important to prepare your home for the winter months.
Be sure to do the following:
- Have your heating system serviced by a professional to make sure it is clean, working properly and adequately ventilated to the outside.
- Prepare fireplaces and chimneys.
- Make sure your smoke detector is working properly. Test batteries each month and replace them twice a year.
- Make sure your carbon monoxide (CO) detector is working properly to alert you if the deadly, odorless, colorless gas is present in your home. Check that the batteries work. Change the batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring. To protect your family from carbon monoxide, be sure to keep camp stoves and generators out of the house, basement or garage.
To prepare for power outages and other weather-related emergencies, do the following:
- Prepare a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels.
- Stock nonperishable food.
- Store water in clean containers.
- Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including a flashlight.
- Make sure to restock medications and medical supplies.
Be Safe During Travel and Outdoor Recreation
Walking on ice is very dangerous. In fact, many weather-related injuries are due to falls on ice-covered steps, driveways and even porches. Make sure to keep your walkways and steps free of ice. Using rock salt, cat litter or sand may help reduce the risk of slipping.
Also remember that cold weather puts extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, be sure to take extra caution and follow your doctor’s advice about performing hard work in the cold, such as shoveling snow. Work slowly and do not overdo it with your outdoor chores.
If you will be engaging in an outdoor activity like hiking, notify your friends or family of where you will be and your expected time of return.