It’s that time of year again when our focus shifts to wintery weather.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac editor, , “For some parts of the country, frigid and frosty conditions will last well into spring, bringing little relief to the winter-weary. It could feel like the never-ending winter, particularly in the Midwest and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachians, where wintery weather will last well into March, and even through the first days of spring.”
Despite the beauty of a fresh blanket of powdery white flakes, winter comes with a hefty share of hazards. Being mindful of the dangers and intentional with safeguards will make this winter a safer season for you and your family.
Beware of falls
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in adults 45 and older? Consider these fall-prevention tips from
1. Choose the right footwear. Shoes/boots with excellent traction and a proper fit. Consider snow boots or hiking boots for the best protection.
2. Leave early. Allow plenty of time for comings and goings as falls are more likely to happen when one is rushing about.
3. Walk like a penguin. Take short steps and walk as flat-footed as possible on icy or slippery ground.
4. Keep your hands free. Avoid carrying heavy loads or stowing hands in your pockets as “hands-free” will offer better balance.
5. Keep walkways free of snow and ice. Shovel, scrape, and apply ice melt frequently.
6. Utilize exterior lights. A lighted pathway is always safer.
7. Keep your cell phone with you. Even on quick trips to the mailbox or the car, a phone will allow a call for help should a fall occur.
Beware of shoveling and snow-blowing injuries
“Shoveling snow or using a snowblower are among winter’s most grueling activities. High levels of activity in cold temperatures put many people at risk of heart attack, especially those that have inactive lifestyles,” warns the .
Dress in layers being mindful of the need for adequate protection of the head, face, and hands.
Share snow removal responsibilities among family members. Take frequent breaks and head inside at the very first sign of over-exertion, pain, or lightheadedness.
Beware of the dangers of outside play
Of course, the kids want to play in the snow! But in their enthusiasm, little ones may be a bit careless about the hats, hoods, gloves, and boots that will protect them from winter’s cold. Waterproof coats and pants or snowsuits will be their best defense against the cold, wet snow we expect them to roll about in as they play.
The threat of frostbite and hypothermia are very real dangers regardless of the outside activity or the age of the participants.
“Frostbite can happen within minutes,” warns the . “If people suspect frostbite, they should head to a heated location and begin warming up using warm water or body heat, seeking medical attention for severe frostbite.”
“Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees,” advises the . “Hypothermia is most associated with exposure to extreme cold, but it can also occur at higher temperatures if a person becomes chilled from being soaked with rain or submerged in water.”
., encourages safe enjoyment of the great outdoors this winter. Remember to for assistance with both sides of the employment equation.