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Winter Season Safety Suggestions At-risk Citizens Guide for Basic Safety and Health HELPU Fire and Life Safety 2004
Cold Weather & Winter Season Cold weather, winds, bitter rains, and heavy snows cause many concerns for all citizens BUT for people with special needs, i. e. people with paralysis, diabetic conditions, and neuropathy, concerns can be magnified. Following are suggestions for numerous conditions that an At-risk citizen may encounter.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Some definitions are first needed to explain the issues and the weather concerns – • Neuropathy – a condition that limits or diminishes the ability to feel sensations, i. e. heat, cold, pain, damage, or injury. • Diabetic – a condition that can follow along the lines of neuropathy also low sugar conditions can cause lightheadedness leading to misjudgment or impaired abilities.
Cold Weather & Winter Season • Hypothermia – a condition in which the person’s body temperature lowers to a dangerous level that can lead to unconsciousness and eventual death • Frostbite – a very severe condition in which the person’s body temperature has significantly lowered and the person loses all sensation to the extremity that has become frostbitten. Many times loss of the extremity occurs with severe exposure and damage. A person with a neuropathy, diabetic condition or paralysis of their limbs may suffer more severe damage and injury.
Cold Weather & Winter Season As a person with (complete*) paralysis I have taken measures to safeguard myself against weather conditions that may cause further damage to my body. Following will be some of the suggestions I have taken to protect myself from severe winter events. * Complete – meaning no sensation of the paralyzed limbs.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Hands – for most of us the instruments we use most often and rely upon to do our work.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Many uses of our hands -
Cold Weather & Winter Season The palms of the hands, the fingers and the fingertips can all get badly damaged if not protected from severe winter weather.
Cold Weather & Winter Season One way to protect hands is by using gloves especially gloves that have an inner insulation that maintains the hand’s warmth. The gloves should also extend beyond the wrist. Mittens are also good for people with clawed hands to protect them from the winter elements.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Curious – while driving do you use gloves? Some gloves are probably too bulky to safely maneuver a vehicle’s steering column but a simple pair of driving gloves while inside the vehicle can help keep the hands and fingers warm.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Hands lose their moisture and can dry up and become brittle, calloused, and cracked in winter weather. Try to have small bottles, (I use travel bottles) of a moisturizing hand cream in your vehicle's glove box, purse, coat pocket, or briefcase. Not only will it soften up your hands but hand creams can replenish the moisture lost to dry heats, bitter blowing winds, icing, and cold snows.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Feet can be sometimes overlooked, after all we do wear shoes, boots, sneakers, or heels. But, the feet can become very easily frostbitten if they are not warm enough, have poor circulation, or are otherwise compromised by injuries, age or size.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Are you diabetic, do you have neuropathy, or poor circulation in your legs and feet? If so, then please schedule a visit –
Cold Weather & Winter Season Here is why you should visit with your doctor regarding your feet. Some people with diabetes, neuropathy, poor circulation, and others may notice, feel, or sense injury or damage to their feet or legs. A doctor is trained to check for pulse, warmth, sensation, and use of the extremity and will be able to help guide you in monitoring injury to your feet and legs.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Thick heavy socks like the first graphic shown can help keep your feet warm and dry. Remember though, if they get wet, your feet are wet, cold, and in danger of frostbite. The second graphic of socks are good for sleeping, they are thinner, about midcalf length and will help protect your feet against temperature changes.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Some people like to lounge around without dress or work shoes on their feet, that’s great but how about keeping the feet warm and protected against small objects, table legs, couch or end table protrusions – Slippers that entirely cover the foot from toes to heel help maintain warmth and give some protection against bumps, stubs, etc.
Cold Weather & Winter Season What about your head and ears? Hats are coming back into style! Simple hooded coats, or parkas can keep your head and ears warm, an ear muff, or even a pulled down knitted cap. Heat escapes through your head. If it is protected and warm, less heat escapes.
Cold Weather & Winter Season Some other suggestions that are routinely done by the author – • I carry a thermometer to check my body temperature. I have no sensation of hot or cold and do not wish to suffer frostbite. If my body temperature drops I know to get inside and warm myself up. • I wear sun glasses while driving in snow, not while it is falling but after it has settled. Snow is blinding and glaring and I do not want to harm my vision.
Cold Weather & Winter Season • I carry a tube of lip balm with sun screen in it to protect my lips from chapping, cracking and bleeding due to the severe colds and winds. • My vehicle has two woolen blankets stored in it, one in the back seat and one in the trunk. • I also carry extra bottles of fresh drinking water in the car and a thermos of hot coffee.
Cold Weather & Winter Season • I have a service dog and he has his own thermal blanket in the car with him and a full body coat that he wears. He also has boots and two extra jugs of water in the car for him. • My cell phone is the newer version, (not expensive at all) with GPS tracking. I have a car charger stored in the glove box for it also.
Cold Weather & Winter Season • Since the heat will be on while I am driving I stop regularly to get fresh air breaks and to loosen stiffened muscles from driving. • I carry with me a small insulated lunch bag that has nutritious healthy high-protein snacks to eat for energy and also some lightly salted snacks to help remind me of thirst so that my body stays hydrated with the fresh water.
Cold Weather & Winter Season We have finally come to the end of this Cold Weather & Winter Season presentation. We hope it provides some useful guidance and help to you. For further information, please contact: HELPU Fire and Life Safety http: //www. helpusafety. org Email [email protected] net