Staying Safe In Cold Weather
Back on December 24 while celebrating Christmas with my family, I didn’t think that old man winter was ever going to come. However, today that’s a different story. The high temperature for the day is 9 degrees with a wind chill of -15 degrees. Extremely frigid temperatures like we are experiencing today can raise some very serious health concerns. Below are some tips for staying safe in cold weather.
In older adults and the elderly hypothermia will set in at faster rate than younger adults. Hypothermia sets in when the body temperature lowers to 95 degrees or below. Some major health concerns caused by Hypothermia are heart attacks, kidney damage, liver damage, and strokes. If you must venture outside in frigid temperatures it is important to always wear a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens to reduce body heat lost through your hands, head and feet. A hat is extremely important in cold weather! The majority of our body heat is released through our heads! Also wearing multiple layers of clothing will trap heat in between the layers and help reduce Hypothermia. A few warning signs of Hypothermia include shivering, dizziness, nausea, confusion, lack of coordination, and increased heart rate. Keep in mind that shivering is your body’s ways of trying to warm up. However, once severe Hypothermia sets in the body will no longer shiver. If you must be outside today keep close attention to these warning signs. If you notice any of the warning signs of hypothermia go inside and warm up until your body can recover from the frigid temperatures.
With cold weather comes ice. More than 1.6 million elderly Americans go to the emergency room each year for ice related falls. Falls in cold weather can be 100% avoided. If you are younger and live around elderly people, shoveling and salting their walks will greatly reduce their risk of falling. If your are elderly, don’t be afraid of asking for assistance. Stretch before going outside. Stretching improves circulation and limbers cold tight muscles. Wear sensible footwear. Footwear should have low heels, good support and non-skid soles. Use assistive devices whenever possible. Firmly grip handrail on stairs. Use a walker or cane if necessary to maintain balance. If all else fails stay inside! Call a friend or relative to run errands for you. Or if it can wait, travel outside once the ice has melted to reduce falling risks.
Be Prepared For Cold Weather
Cold weather is accompanied by winter storms. Winter storms can mean power outages and the loss of heat, water, and telephone services. Checking the weekly forecast can help you prepare for a winter storm before it arrives. Stock up on food and fresh water. Some meals on wheel programs for the elderly will provide frozen meals. These frozen meals can be extremely useful for days when deliveries cannot be made due to inclimate weather. Stock up on fresh batteries and a flashlight in case of a power outage. A battery operated radio would also come in handy in the event of a power outage. Most importantly, do not wait for a winter weather emergency to develop a safety and communication plan. Ask a neighbor if they would be able to check on you during a winter storm. If no my-drugs-blog are available ask friends or family that live close to make sure you are safe during a winter emergency. If you live around elderly people a simple call save their lives in the event they lose heat or don’t have access to fresh food and water.