Biting cold temperatures, snowy streets, icy sidewalks, winter power outages…some may say it’s just another winter day in the Midwest! While it may be just another winter day extreme weather can be dangerous.
Staying warm, safe, and healthy in the winter months can sometimes be a challenge. Scott County Health Department wants to remind you that to keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises. The following, explanations, links, and tips should help you prepare.
How cold is extreme cold? Well, that depends on where you live in the United States and what the average temperatures are there. Extreme cold happens when temperatures drop below normal as wind speed increases. When this happens, heat can leave your body more quickly. This kind of weather can cause health emergencies especially for older people, young children, people without shelter or who are stranded, or people without proper heat or insulation in their home.
Cold Weather Health Emergencies
Protect yourself…here’s how.
Injury from Falls
With extreme winter weather come the hazards of slippery streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. Injuries from falls can range from minor bruises to broken bones or brain concussions. In Iowa, between 2003 and 2005, falls by people of all ages accounted for 41 percent of Emergency Department visits and 48 percent of hospitalizations. Falls are especially serious for older adults.
We should all prepare ourselves for slippery conditions by knowing what to do to avoid a fall and what to watch for if a fall does happen.
Symptoms of a brain concussion include:
If you fall and hit your head and you experience these symptoms it is best to call your healthcare provider, or if necessary call 911.
The best protection against falls is prevention. If you must go out on slippery surfaces be prepared:
Also, check periodically on elderly neighbors or those who live alone to ensure they have not fallen outside their homes and need assistance.
For more information about extreme cold and staying safe and healthy during winter weather disasters visit: