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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

When the Weather Outside is Frightful – Winter’s many Hidden Hazards

Home for me is Chicago and we are having one of the mildest winters I can recall. Very little snow (by Chicago standards) and not even all that cold (again by Chicago standards) but if you are reading this and your winter weather is frightful, here are some helpful tips courtesy of THE INK WELL who publish a monthly printed newsletter sent to their customers.

Depending on where you live, a covering of fluffy snow and the glisten of icicles can be beautiful signs of the season. However, winter can also come with many hidden hazards.

Here are a few must-know tips to keep you safe and healthy.

Did you know indoor radon gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer? Radon levels can increase at a deadly rate during cool months when windows are closed, so it’s important to test your home for radon. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/radon.

If your furnace or other heat source stops working, avoid frozen water pipes by turning your faucets to a steady drip. If the pipes do freeze, open a faucet near the frozen area to release vapor from melting ice, then direct a heat lamp, space heater, or hair dryer at the frozen section. Never thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, which can cause a fire or steam explosion.

Hypothermia can happen to anyone when their body temperature reaches 95 degrees or lower. Even mild indoor temps of 60-65 degrees can trigger hypothermia in infants and the elderly.

Signs of Hypothermia include

  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Slow Breathing

Beware of frostbitten skin, which appears whitish and feels numb. Treat frostbite by wrapping the area with blankets, or use body heat to warm it gradually. Do not rub frostbitten areas — friction can damage the skin tissue.

If you are standing on a frozen lake, pond, or outdoor skating rink and hear the ice cracking, lie down immediately to distribute your weight. If you fall in, don’t panic. Focus your energy on getting out as quickly as possible. Once out, use powdery snow to sop up excess water. Do jumping jacks, push-ups, or run in place to get your blood pumping and warm up your body.

For more winter tips, check out: www.epa.gov/region3winter

Wise words:

“Health is like money–we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”

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