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The Wiles of Winter - Keeping You and Yours Safe

Randy DeVaul

Posted on December 8, 2018 09:45

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Many parts of the country experience full-scale winter with bitter temperatures and piles of snow. But, even for those of us in more "mild" climates, there are dangers during cooler weather. Wherever you live, protect you, your family, and your pets from these seasonal hazards and enjoy!

As winter storms ramp up for the season, here are ways to protect your health, your family, and your pets from the chill and hazards of winter.

Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to freezing temperatures. Since skin cells are made mostly of water, continued exposure to freezing conditions can cause the water in the cells to freeze, forming ice crystals within the cells that damage them. As a result, a person will experience pain, severe swelling of the affected part, and may develop gangrene.

To prevent such a risk, always ensure that skin parts are covered when exposed to freezing temperatures. Skin “feels” the temperature it is exposed to, whether ambient or relative chill factor. Parts most commonly affected are ear lobes, the nose, cheeks, fingers, and toes. It is critical to keep these parts covered and dry.  Always have an extra pair of socks and gloves; wear a hat with earflaps.

Hypothermia results from continued exposure to cool temperatures for long periods of time, causing your internal body core temperature to drop. The potential worsens when clothing becomes wet, either from sweating or from the traditional fall and winter drizzle. Continuing to wear wet clothing will cause body core temperatures to drop as clothing is exposed to the cold air. The evaporation process will remove heat from directly under the wet clothing. Also, cover your head! Up to 75% of your body heat can be lost through your exposed head, even though the rest of your body is layered and insulated!

Shivering marks the onset of hypothermia. This occurs when the body temperature drops to 95 degrees F. If ignored and the body temperature drops to 92 degrees F, the shivering mechanism stops and further complications develop. Treatment for hypothermia includes gentle re-warming of the body, maintaining dry, layered clothing and drinking warm, non-alcoholic beverages.

During the holidays, take care at work and around the home when preparing foods and drinks for the holiday season.  Use common sense. If it needs refrigeration, provide it.  If it needs to be cooked, heat it.  If it needs to be non-alcoholic, serve it!

Other items to remember include checking smoke alarms at home; inspect your chimney before “lighting up” after a long spell of not using it; don’t burn wrapping paper or pine wood in your stove or fireplace as they increase creosote buildup in the flue and may cause a fire; do not overload electrical outlets with lights and decorations; inspect kerosene heaters and use them only in well-ventilated areas; enjoy the holidays responsibly. This includes drinking and driving, spending and buying, defensive driving, and “mall” courtesy.

Plan, prepare, and anticipate. These problems re-occur year after year. Make your life safer this year by being ready for all that winter brings. It can be fun, festive, and enjoyable. It can be frustrating, irritating, and disastrous! We have much more control over our lives than we are willing to admit. So, control it and enjoy it!

Randy DeVaul

Posted on December 8, 2018 09:45

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Source: fox8.com

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