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Q: How can I avoid the dangers of cold weather?

Posted February 19, 2014 in Advice Column

A: BRRRRRR! Honey, it’s cold outside! With the unbelievable cold temperatures here the last couple of months I feel compelled to touch on winter concerns and tips for this Polar Vortex, as they call it.

Remember, cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, a condition when the body temperature dips too low. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of hypothermia-related deaths were of people older than 65. So don’t let indoor temperatures go too low and dress in layers. Going outside? Wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs.  Your body temperature should never dip below 95 degrees — if it does get medical assistance immediately. Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freezer so keep a supply of non-perishable foods that can be eaten cold on hand. If the power goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Move around a lot to raise your body temperature. The most important tip to keep in mind during the colder months is to ask for help. If you need to clear your property of snow and ice, don’t hesitate to ask a family member or neighbor, or hire a professional. Arrange rides to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments.

Information provided by Jill Scott, executive director, Windsor Manor Assisted Living Community, 1401 Wall St., Webster City, 515-832-1188.

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