Staying healthy when it’s cold

December 9th, 2012 at 3:05 pm by under Weather

The cold front is on our doorstep!

Some scattered showers and t-storms as possible this evening but the biggest changes will be a severe drop in temperatures over the next couple of days. Tonight, behind the front, northerly winds and clearing skies will allow us to hit the upper 30s! A widespread freeze is likely early Tuesday morning.

Scott and White Healthcare sent in these cold weather health tips, so I thought I’d pass them along.

Protecting your health when it’s cold! – Tonight’s ’s cold front will bring much cooler temperatures to the Central Texas area – below are some tips from the Scott & White Hospital – Round Rock Emergency Department to keep you and your family safe and healthy in this colder weather: 

  • Keep any indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The minimum temperature should be kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to protect the very young, the elderly, or people with health problems.
  • When outside, take extra precautions to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. In high wind conditions, cold weather-related health problems are much more likely. Be sure the outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. If you will be spending time outside, do not ignore shivering – it is an important first sign that the body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors.
  • Since cold weather puts an extra burden on the heart, if you have cardiac problems or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders about shoveling or performing any strenuous exercise outside. Even otherwise-healthy adults should remember that their bodies already are working overtime just to stay warm, and dress appropriately and work slowly when doing heavy outdoor chores.
  • Probably not likely but it’s good to be aware of the signs of hypothermia: Early signs in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin.

Prevention tips for children:

Children may not be aware of cold temperatures. Parents need to understand the ways in which the body loses heat and:

  • ·        Limit the amount of time a child is out in cold, wet, or windy weather.
  • ·        Dress children appropriately for the weather conditions. Remember C-O-L-D:

o    Cover your child’s head, neck and face as much as possible since a lot of heat loss can occur in these areas. These areas are also at risk for frostbite. Apply lip protection.

o    Overexertion (being too active) can cause your child to sweat and chill more quickly. Sweating causes clothing to become damp and increases heat loss.

o    Layers of clothing will keep your child warm and protect your child best against wind and cold conditions.

o    Dry is key in preventing cold injury. Keeping your child dry with waterproof clothing reduces heat loss.

  • ·        Keep close watch on your children’s body heat even in the summer when they are swimming in a lake or pool for a long time.
  • ·        Teach children to avoid touching cold metal with bare hands or licking extremely cold metal objects. Cold is transmitted more easily through metal and increases the risk of a cold injury, such as frostbite. Also, your child’s tongue might stick to the cold metal and be difficult to remove.

Staying safe while heating your home: 

  • Take precautions to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially deadly gas. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. It is produced by burning fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas, kerosene, coal and gasoline.
  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu but do not include a fever. At lower levels of exposure, a person may experience a headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Exposure to very high levels of carbon monoxide can result in loss of consciousness and even death.
  • Wood stoves, space heaters, electric heaters, heaters and pellet stoves can be dangerous unless proper safety precautions are followed.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe and be aware of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water. To keep water pipes from freezing in the home let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing, open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall. Keep the heat on and set no lower than 55 degrees.

 

 

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