News


January 12, 2007

Winter Weather Safety

Given the ongoing cold weather, the WRHA is issuing the following Cold Weather Safety Tips to the public:

  • Check daily on older friends, relatives and neighbors who live alone.
  • Older adults and the very young should stay indoors as much as possible. Offer to shop for older friends and relatives. Just as with summer heat, it takes some time to get acclimated to cold weather.
  • While indoors, try to keep at least one room heated to 20° C. This is especially important for the older adults and small children to prevent hypothermia.
  • Be careful when using fireplaces, stoves or space heaters to stay warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires are very real winter hazards.
  • Prescription drugs may increase vulnerability to cold. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Wear layers of warm, dry clothing including hat and gloves outdoors.
  • Cover exposed skin surfaces as protection from frostbite (numbness, red-white nose, chin, fingers, forehead, stiff cheeks); warm affected areas gradually by wrapping or placing next to warm skin; do not rub.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Eat high-energy foods along with warm beverages and soup.
  • Avoid fatigue and exhaustion during cold weather. Overexertion, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can strain your heart.
  • Carry extra clothing, blankets and high-energy snacks, such as cereal or candy bars in your car for protection if car stalls. Keep the gas tank near full to prevent icing. Don't travel alone.
  • Be aware of hypothermia (body temperature of 35°C / 95°F or less). Signs include stiff muscles, puffy face, slurred speech, shivering uncontrollably, slowed breathing, poor physical condition and mental confusion. If these signs are recognized, call 911.
  • Use particular caution on slippery surfaces during winter weather. Wear winter footwear with good treads; consider using foot traction aids like Yaktrax; use ice picks on canes; and reschedule outings or appointments on days that are particularly slippery. Keep sidewalks and entrances clear and use salt or sand on ice.

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