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Tuesday, 09 January 2018 16:31

Staying Safe During Dangerously Cold Weather

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Staying Safe During Dangerously Cold Weather

Cold weather safety tipsIn Minnesota we pride ourselves on being able to survive our long, cold winters. We know how to dress warm and plan for emergencies when we are away from home. Even with the forecast of sub-zero temperatures, emergency rooms always see a steady flow of visitors suffering from everything from frost bite to broken bones from falls on icy sidewalks. Here are some safety steps you can take to ensure that you stay safe during the frigid winter months.

1. Icy Sidewalks and Driveways

By far the most common injury during the winter months is from slipping and falling on ice. Even if a surface looks ice-free, black ice and ice hidden under snow can cause a sudden loss of traction. When walking in icy conditions keep your center of gravity over your front leg, take short, deliberate steps, and keep your hands out of your pockets to maintain balance. If you do lose your balance, although it seems counterintuitive, try to relax and distribute your body weight to avoid taking the force of the fall on your arms or wrists.

If you're running or exercising outdoors during the winter, consider wearing traction devices, like cables, on your shoes for extra traction on icy surfaces.

2. Look For Signs of Hypothermia

Shivering is your body's signal that your body temperature is dropping. You’re not at risk yet, but you need to take steps to avoid hypothermia and a dangerously low body temperature. Look out for these warning signs:

  • you’re becoming clumsy or confused
  • you feeling drowsy
  • your experiencing excessive shivering, or have stopped shivering altogether

In that case, get out of the cold immediately and seek a warm place. Get out of wet clothes. Bundle up in warm blankets.

Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Mittens that keep the fingers together are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat that covers your mouth to protect your lungs.

3. Be Alert For Frostbite

Pay attention to your body's warning signals that indicate your extremities are getting too cold. If you feel tingling and pain, immediately take steps to warm up. By the time the tingling turns to numbness, you're experiencing frostbite, and a medical emergency.

Most people think of frostbite as only being a risk to fingers and toes, but the ears and nose are also vulnerable, so be sure to insulate and protect your face.



Read 3373 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 January 2018 18:27
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