Health officials offer cold weather safety tips


Health officials offer cold weather safety tipsRegion – With the season's first cold snap upon us, health officials are offering the following cold weather safety tips to help protect you and your family members from the dangers of extreme cold temperatures.

Extreme cold is a dangerous situation which can lead to serious health problems. These weather related health emergencies can affect anyone at anytime. When the temperature drops it is very important to keep an eye on those who are most susceptible, including young children, older adults, the chronically ill and those who live in homes that are poorly insolated or without heat.

The Shrewsbury Board of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges people affected by the ongoing cold weather to take steps to protect themselves, and to check to be sure their families, friends, and neighbors stay safe and warm this winter.

Personal Exposure:

Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious and life-threatening health problems, including frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite causes skin to appear red and feel painful. Seek immediate medical attention for symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia. Without immediate medical attention, skin will then turn white or grayish and feel firm, waxy or numb. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness.

Following these important safety tips can help protect those who must go outside in winter weather.

When possible, people should stay indoors, in homes and buildings that are properly heated. If your home is not heated, find other safe ways to stay warm.

Wear winter clothing indoors, including layers of warm clothes, as well as socks, shoes, and hats. Use blankets for additional warmth.

Close off unused, exterior rooms and gather together in a single interior room.

Seek shelter in heated public places, like malls, libraries and homeless shelters.

Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches to avoid slips and falls.

Be aware of the wind chill factor.

Work slowly when doing outside chores.

Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.

Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.

If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.

Carry a cell phone.

Home heating safety tips:

Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available. Alternate heating sources can include properly used generators and well-maintained fireplaces.

Prevent carbon monoxide emergencies.

Install a CO detector with a working battery to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas.

Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.

Always “warm up” your car or truck outside of your garage. Attached garages can leak CO fumes into your house, even if you leave the door open.

Check to be sure your stove or fireplace is properly vented before burning anything in it.

Never heat your house with a gas oven.

Keep grills and generators out of the house and garage. Position generators at least 25 feet from the house.


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