When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls in ice and snow. But so do the younger folk. It’s important that they, and those who care for them, take certain precautions at this time of year, and while you’re doing that, take them for yourself as well. Here’s what you need to know.
- gloves or mittens (mittens are warmer)
- a coat and boots
- a scarf to cover your mouth and nose and protect your lungs from cold air
- Extra Sweater Or Hoodie
Stay Inside When You Can
Staying inside is going to reduce the risk of frostbite or even worse hypothermia. If it is necessary to go out then try and do all your errands at once or stop on your way home from work. Replace a winter walk with some indoor yoga and stretching!
To Shovel or Not To Shovel
When it’s cold, your heart works extra hard to keep you warm. Working hard, such as shoveling show, may put too much strain on your heart, especially if you have heart disease. Shoveling can also be dangerous if you have problems with balance, or “thin bones” (osteoporosis). If you don’t have a snow blower, it would be best to consult your physician first.
Prepare For Slip and Falls
- Carefully Shovel Steps & Walkways to your home or hire someone to shovel for you. Do not walk on icy or snowy sidewalks; look for sidewalks that are dry and have been cleared.
- Wear Boots With Non-skid Soles so you’re less likely to slip when you walk.
- If You Use a Cane, Replace the Rubber Tip Before it is Worn Smooth. You might also buy an ice pick-like attachment that fits onto the end of the cane to help keep you from slipping when you walk.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
- Have your chimney and flues cleaned annually.
- Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors work, are battery operated,, and have fresh batteries.
- Be mindful when using space heaters, keeping them away from any kind of cloth or flammable materials.
- Gas stoves are NOT heaters and shouldn’t be used as such.
Stock Your Car With Supplies
- Extra blankets, boots, mittens, coats, etc.
- Jumper Cables
- Sand, Cat Litter, or rock salt if you’re stuck on ice
- Windshield scraper, two in case one breaks
- First Aid Kit
- Water and a few non perishable items
- Extra fluids for your car including gas.
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