If you must go outside……protect yourself from winter storm hazards.

Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Layering clothes will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other. Half of your body heat loss is from the head.

Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.

Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can cause permanent harm to people. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose, or earlobes are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.

If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.

Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.

Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.

Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.

Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injury.

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