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Cold Weather Tips before Groundhog Day
2019-01-31

            With the onset of February and a polar vortex expect to visit us over the next few days, bringing single digit temperatures and wind-chills that could feel as cold as 20-degrees-below-zero, the Town and Country wants to remind our readers of precautions they can take to help them stay safe.

            Thanks to the 2019 Farmer's Almanac for sharing these tips.

            If you can, minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young.  Dress in layers - several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing.  Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Invest in a good brand of thermal underwear and layer beneath a turtleneck, topped with a wool sweater, then a long coat or fleece-lined parka. Try runners' tights to wear underneath your pants, which will keep you even warmer than thermal underwear.

            Our bodies prioritize keeping our organs warm, which means hands and feet are typically the first to feel the cold. Wear either wool-lined winter gloves or heavy mittens, and sturdy, waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. A hat is essential, preferably one that covers your ears. Cover your face and mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

            Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite which is damaging to body tissues.  Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.

            Please don't leave pets outside during cold weather extremes. They need adequate shelter. In sub-zero temperatures, their paws, noses and ears can succumb to frostbite.  If you can't bring them in your home, house them in a garage or basement with plenty of warm bedding.

            The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.  If body temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.

            When using alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions to ensure they are ventilating properly.  Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

            Seal off unused rooms by stuffing rolled-up towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Consider installing inexpensive insulating window film, which you can purchase at any hardware store.

            If you lose power for an extended period of time, don't let food go to waste. Use the outdoors as a makeshift freezer for food. Be sure to cover items to protect from wildlife.

            To help keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of water to run from a faucet if your pipes have frozen in the past.  This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze.  Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe should burst.

            And, please check in with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure they are safe.

            Hopefully, our good friend the groundhog won't see his shadow on Saturday.


 

 

 

 

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