While some parts of the country are going to get a slightly milder winter some of us will experience extremely cold temperatures. When Mr. C was undergoing his chemo and radiation our furnace broke down. It was terrifying! The actual temperature was -15 degrees and he was truly in danger. If you have elderly people living with you, someone who is ill, or children you need to learn these 15 ways to protect yourself & your family from extreme cold!
We depend on our furnaces to keep us nice and warm all winter but if that heat source isn’t working we are at risk of hypothermia and even frostbite. But even if your furnace is working there are things you can do to help keep your family warmer in extremely cold weather.
Before extremely cold weather arrives talk to the electric or gas company about getting on a Shut Off Protection Plan. This kind of program prevents heat from being turned off if you have elderly, disabled, or chronically ill members of your household.
Have your furnace inspected so that any serious problems can be fixed before the really cold temperatures arrive.
Draw your curtains at dusk (or in bitterly cold weather keep curtains closed all day and night). If your curtains aren’t a heavy material you can hang blankets or even large towels over them to help keep out the cold.
Use weather-stripping to seal doors and windows. Drafts can lower temperatures indoors significantly. If you can’t install weather-stripping and drafts are a problem use a rolled up towel to stop drafts.
If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that has been inspected and is safe to use you may find the supplemental heat is required. But be smart. Never leave a fireplace burning when you go to bed.
Portable heaters meant for indoor use can also help keep your family warm. Be sure to keep them at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding, etc. and keep small children away from heaters.
Wear several light layers of warm clothing. You can add and subtract clothing to stay comfortable.
Try to maintain a temperature of at least 65 degrees if anyone in your home is disabled, over 65 years, ill, or if you have small children.
Drink hot drinks regularly during the day and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. This will help you keep your energy up.
Try to stay active even indoors. Do light exercises (but don’t make yourself sweat). Housework is another good way to stay active. If you have kids stuck at home play moderately active games with them.
People with heart or respiratory problems are at increased risk of worsening symptoms during very cold weather. Keep a close eye on anyone with these issues. Keep in mind that symptoms may be affected for several days up to a month after temperatures return to normal after an extremely cold snap.
If you know of a relative or neighbor with health problems or who is elderly try to check in on them during bitterly cold weather.
Learn how to recognize hypothermia and frostbite and what you should do if someone is suffering from these dangerous conditions
And don’t forget your pets! Fur coats or not your pets are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite just like you! Don’t leave pets outside in very cold weather. If possible have your pet wear a sweater and boots to go outside and bring them in when they are done with their business.
By taking some simple precautions you can help protect yourself & your family from extreme cold this winter.