Harsh winter weather can be deadly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cold temperatures that keeps people indoors can have other health impacts by allowing diseases, such as the flu, to spread more easily, explains Prevention. Several winter precautions can help maintain health and safety during the winter, including disaster preparedness for winter storms, yearly flu vaccines and knowledge of basic winter first aid.
Winter storm preparedness includes storing adequate non-perishable food and water, according to the CDC. The CDC also recommends also preparing a backup heating supply, cleaning the chimney flue and laying in a supply of wood or purchasing a kerosene heater and kerosene as well as insulating and weatherproofing the home. There must be a carbon monoxide director in the same room as a wood stove, fireplace or kerosene heater to prevent asphyxiation.
Both hypothermia and frostbite are direct dangers of over-exposure to cold temperatures. Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening cooling of the body temperature. Frostbite occurs when the skin freezes, frequently in extremities like the nose, fingers and toes. According to the CDC, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite as soon as they appear and immediately get indoors or to shelter. These symptoms include extreme shivering and loss of color and feeling in the extremities. Once indoors, the victim must be gently warmed, with all cold or wet clothing removed. The CDC further recommends warming frostbitten parts in warm ? never hot ? water or by placing them in an armpit. A person suffering from hypothermia should be given medical attention as soon as possible.