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Stay safe and warm with these cold weather tips

by Ben Pine and Amy Stallings

1)         Dress in layers, hat, gloves, scarf, cover as much skin as possible:  Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing to create pockets of insulating warm air. Wear wool or fleece fabrics, not cotton as it dries slowly; warm socks with a thermal sock liner; comfortable, closed shoes; a scarf, hat and earmuffs to prevent loss of body heat; a water repellent, hooded outer garment to add extra protection; and mittens instead of gloves to keep hands warm.

2)         Watch out for signs of hypothermia. Early signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin. When outside, take extra precautions to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. In high wind conditions, cold weather-related health problems are much more likely. Be sure the outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. If you will be spending time outside, do not ignore shivering - it is an important first sign that the body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors.

3)         Protect Pets:  Keep pets inside, when necessary to walk them, do so on the grass, not the cold sidewalk.  Protect livestock and other animals with adequate shelter, extra feed and supplemental heat.  For more visit:

4)         Check space heaters for sufficient ventilation and wire condition. Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding.

5)         Make sure fireplace flues are working properly.  Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

6)         Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors. They produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

7)         Check on the elderly and infirmed.

8)         Make sure the kids are bundled up tight, especially at the bus stop and make sure the don’t have to wait too long.

9)         Make sure the furnace is clean, and filters have been changed.  You may want a profession check-up.

10)       Protect exposed pipes.  Leave a drip of water from the faucet to prevent freezing and bursting.

11)       Walk around or move in place to increase circulation and generate additional body heat.

12)       Drink warm beverages.

13)       Do not drink alcohol as it will cause a loss of body heat by dilating blood vessels.

14)       Seek shelter indoors periodically to warm up. 
Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by exposure to extreme cold. Warning signs include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. 

Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees F. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. 

Information provided by NOAA, ASPCA, New York State Department of Health