Winter typically means cooler temperatures, and in places like North Central Ohio, it can bring severe storms. It comes as no surprise to natives, so it’s important to be prepared. Safety can be jeopardized without proper planning in advance. Here are our top winter safety tips to keep you and your family safe this winter.
Dress for the Weather
While snow is blowing outside, things can get heated inside. Be sure to dress in layers so you maintain body heat when outdoors, but don’t become overheated while inside during the work or school day. Make sure you have a well-fitting pair of gloves and a hat to help you stay covered. Scarves are also a must-have, because not only do they keep your neck warm, they can be pulled up over your face in harsh conditions.
Pack your regular shoes to wear indoors, and wear durable snow boots when walking around outdoors, particularly if there’s a lot of snow. This will keep your feet dry and warm. It’s good to have an extra pair of socks on hand, just in case snow seeps in. Getting your feet wet can lead to hypothermia or frostbite.
It’s a good idea to have more than one winter coat in case your regular coat gets dirty or wet from snow. With a backup on hand, you won’t find yourself in a last-minute bind trying to stay warm.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
The air becomes drier in the winter, making your lips chapped and your skin feel tight, dry and even flaky. Choose medicated lip balm, which contains extra moisturizing agents, and coat your lips regularly.
Tell children not to lick their lips. While it moistens the lips instantly, the effects are fleeting, and can actually cause your lips to dry out faster than when moistened with lip balm. Licking your lips too often can even spread the dryness out to the skin surrounding the lips.
The dry air has an effect on the rest of your body, as well, making it important to moisturize frequently. Use oil-based lotion that will retain moisture longer than a water-based moisturizer. Be sure to use it regularly, especially after showering.
While hand washing is important to stave off illness, it can dry out the skin, so be sure to carry a travel-sized lotion with you so you can moisturize on the go. Humidifiers can also help with the lack of moisture in the air (caused mainly by heaters) so place a few around the house. Or, try these simple ways to humidify your home without a humidifier.
Take Caution With Outdoor Activities
Winter provides many opportunities for outdoor activity, whether it’s a winter sport like skiing or shoveling your driveway. Whenever you’re outside in low temperatures for long periods of time, drink plenty of water and take periodic breaks from the cold. Make sure you can be seen by others if you are shoveling driveways or walkways, and stay away from vehicles, particularly if you are playing an outdoor sport. Keep outdoor salt on hand to combat ice and prevent falls.
Make sure your vehicle is properly prepared for winter, and keep an emergency kit in your car in case the weather strands you somewhere in the cold. Keep a snow scraper in your car so you can clean the exterior before driving and make sure your view is not obstructed. Keep an extra blanket handy so you can stay warm while your car is heating up. The CDC recommends using winter windshield fluid, and keeping your gas tank full.
Other Ways to Stay Safe
The best way to stay safe is to plan ahead. Communicate with others, and check in if you haven’t heard from a loved one. Stay on top of the weather forecast and stock up on supplies if you know there is a snowstorm coming. Don’t let dwindling levels of food, toiletries and other necessary household items force you out into unsafe conditions.
Inspect your home’s pipes to prevent them from freezing and clean your gutters. Check the furniture around your home to be sure nothing is covering your vents. Avoid overexertion during the winter, as it puts added strain on your heart. In such cold temperatures this can cause a heart attack.
You can do many more things to prepare for the dangers of winter and stay safe. While the list is endless, make sure to pay attention to your health and don’t avoid the doctor because of the cold. If you’re not feeling well, make an appointment to be seen today to stay on top of your health.