Baby It’s Cold Outside!
2018 certainly started with a bang! Or maybe more like a frozen popsicle! Temperatures across the country have plummeted to record lows; even our good friends in Jacksonville, FL saw snow! It’s enough to make a person want to huddle down under some warm blankets and wait until the crocuses begin to bloom. Then again, there are those of us who enjoy the winter weather. The fresh smell of snow, the glistening of icicles, the memories of sledding parties and the joy of hot cocoa after an evening of ice skating. Ah yes, winter is upon us.
With the frosty weather, though, comes increased dangers for older adults. Before you go out to play with the grandkids, remember a few wise tips.
Older adults and people with certain medical conditions are at a greater risk for hypothermia. Certain medications, including over-the-counter drugs, can put you at an increased risk as well. As we age, our bodies are not able to handle the cold as we did in our younger years. It doesn’t take an Artic blast to put us into danger, even a small drop in temperature or a short exposure to harsh elements can put us at risk. A ‘mildly’ cold home with a temperature of 60-65 degrees can cause hypothermia in susceptible people.
The warning signs of hypothermia include slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness, confusion, shivering, stiffness in the arms and legs, slowed reactions and a weak pulse. If you notice any of these signs, either in yourself or in others, call 911 immediately.
To help you stay safe this winter, keep your home above 70 degrees, bundle up with long underwear under your clothes, socks and slippers, and use an afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm. You might consider wearing a cap inside to keep your head warm. If you’re going outdoors, remember to dress in layers (it helps to trap the heat), always wear a hat to keep from losing body heat through your head, keep your gloves on and make sure you let someone know when you are going to be outdoors.
With a few precautions, you can stay safe and still enjoy the winter wonderland!