Family & Pets

Cold Weather Survival Guide

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(File photo.  Credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images)

(File photo. Credit: Scott Olson/ Getty Images)

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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COLD WEATHER HEALTH ADVICE AND INFO

Stay inside as much as possible; if you have to go out, dress in layers. Your head loses body heat quickly, which is why it’s important to wear a hat and cover your ears. For your hands, mittens generally keep your hands warmer than gloves. If you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air, which can be dangerous and painful. Wool socks will help your feet stay warm.

Eating well balanced meals will help you stay warm. Don’t drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, as they can cause the body to lose heat more rapidly.

HYPOTHERMIA – An abnormally low body temp that can affect the brain, making it difficult to think clearly or move well. People often don’t realize it’s happening because the symptoms of shivering and exhaustion can be mistaken for something else. The elderly and children are most susceptible.

FROSTBITE – Happens when the skin is exposed to extreme cold temperatures and the skin freezes. Watch out for numbness and skin that’s red or white, painful, firm or waxy.

HEART ISSUES - Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart and your body has to work extra hard to stay warm. Any exertion can be dangerous, especially for people with heart disease.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING – a variety of heating sources can produce carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death. Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

HELPFUL LINKS

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.asp

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/extreme-cold-guide.pdf

Frostbite & Hypothermia:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/index.asp

Advice for people who have to work in extreme cold:

www.osha.gov/as/opa/cold_weather_prep.html

Phila. Managing Dir. Emergency Winter Information:

http://oem.readyphiladelphia.org/Winter

FEMA winterizing advice:

www.ready.gov/winter-weather

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