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Staying Safe in the winter

Winter is here, which means ice, snow, and cold temperatures are also here. The winter months can be challenging for everyone- especially for the elderly, as slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses.

Here are some helpful tips for avoiding common winter dangers.

Avoid slipping on Ice Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. Make sure to wear shoes with good grip and non-skid soles, and stay inside until the roads are clear. Replace a worn cane tip to make walking easier. Take off shoes as soon as you return indoors because the snow and ice attached to the soles, once melted, can lead to slippery conditions inside.

Dress for Warmth  Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia — a condition where the body temperature dips too low. According to the CDC [1], more than half of hypothermia-related deaths were of people over the age of 65. Wear warm socks, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs. Your body temperature should never dip below 95 degrees — if it does get medical assistance immediately.

Check the Car Get your car serviced before the icy temperatures hits, or ask a family member to bring it to a service garage for you. Checking things like the oil, tires, battery and wipers can make a big difference on the roads.  Also make sure your road side assistance is up-to-date in case of emergencies.

Eat a Varied Diet Because people spend more time indoors and may eat a smaller variety of foods, nutritional deficits , especially Vitamin D deficiency can be a problem.  Eat foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, grains and seafood options like tuna and salmon.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if you need to.

Get Help with Snow Shoveling
Shoveling snow may put too much strain on your heart, especially if you have heart disease. Shoveling can also be dangerous if you have problems with balance, or “thin bones” (osteoporosis.) If you need to clear your property of snow and ice, don’t hesitate to ask a family member or neighbor, or hire a professional.

Stay healthy and warm this winter!