Cold Poses Dangers for Seniors
Frigid winter temperatures can pose serious health risks for young children, people with chronic illnesses and seniors.
These at-risk individuals need to take steps to protect themselves from cold-related injuries and check to make sure their family, friends and neighbors are safe and warm during wintry weather periods.
Frostbite and hypothermia are very common cold weather-related dangers. Frostbite causes skin to initially appear red and painful. Left untreated, skin will turn white or grayish and feel firm, waxy or numb. Hypothermia symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory problems, drowsiness and slurred speech. People with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
When the temperature drops, stay inside in homes and buildings that are properly heated. If your home isn’t heated, you should find other ways to keep warm:
- Wear winter clothing indoors, including layers of warm clothes, as well as socks, shoes and hats. Use blankets for additional warmth.
- Close off unused exterior rooms and have people gather together in a single interior room.
- Seek shelter in heated public locations, such as malls, libraries and homeless shelters.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offer the following tips when going outside in cold weather:
- Wear proper outdoor clothing, including layers of light, warm clothing along with hats, scarves, mittens and waterproof boots.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor.
- Work slowly when doing outside chores.
- Take a friend and an emergency kit when doing outdoor recreational activities.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Dont travel when the weather service has issued advisories. If you must travel, tell a friend or relative about your proposed route and expected time of travel.
- Sprinkle cat litter on icy patches.