Actions to protect your health in freezing temperatures include:
Preparing your family and home:
•Replenish your emergency supply kits including battery-operated radio and flashlights.
•Have extra blankets on hand.
•Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
•Check on family members and neighbors who are elderly or have special needs.
•Move family pets indoors or to an enclosure out of the elements.
•Maintain a sufficient supply of heating fuel.
•Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip during cold weather to avoid freezing.
•Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
•Keep fire extinguishers on hand. Make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.
•Do not bring heating devices, barbecues and other cooking equipment or other fuel burning devices intended for outdoors inside.
Drink lots of water, even if you’re not thirsty.
Avoid alcohol, which makes your body lose heat.
Light meals are best before heading out in the cold.
Heavy meals require a large blood flow to the gastrointestinal system to aid in digestion, which may prevent warm blood from circulating to your fingers and toes.
Save the heavier meal for when you are back indoors.
•Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.
The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
•Wear a hat. 50% of heat is lost from your head.
Wear warm socks.
Outer shell of your layered clothing should shield wind.
Protect your lips with lip balm and any exposed skin with moisturizer.
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
Maintain your exercise routine by doing so indoors
Recognizing symptoms of cold weather exposure
Confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and shivering are signs of possible hypothermia.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy skin are symptoms of frostbite. See a physician.
In the case of overexposure to severe temps, remove wet clothes an warm the body with a blanket or warm fluids.
During a storm
Drive only if it is absolutely necessary.
Keep warm blankets, extra clothing, hats, scarves, gloves and healthy snacks in your car during severe temperatures.
If you must drive: travel in day; don’t travel alone; let others know your schedule; stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts.
Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive.
If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
For more information visit:
•Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety - (CDC)
Cold Weather Survival Guide from NJ.com http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/cold_weather_survival_guide_wh.html
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