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How to Keep Healthy During the Cold Season

The weather, as it is, has been crazy for a few months now. When we were expecting it to be really cold then it gets warm to the point of a taste of summer. When it was the usual time to be snowing up in the Sierra or suppose to be raining non-stop none came. So what now? At some point I have been fearing another dry summer meaning we have to be on Drought Alert again which is fairly difficult not just for regular guys like me but most of all for our dear Seniors still living in their own abode.

Well, the past few weeks we have been having rain, heat, cold, freeze and just yesterday a feel of icy rain with little hail at some places and if you look out Mt. Diablo is now snow-capped from the frigid temperature we have the past two days.

Are you the adventurous kind of Senior? Do you like the outdoors whether its cold or hot? Well, the good news is there is very thick snow in the Sierra now and yesterday Placer County was embedded in snow so if you care for a little long drive to enjoy the snow this could be the best time to do it. If you are a gardener like me, it is quite frustrating to be going out there tending to your little garden and then the weather suddenly changes into extreme ones and your plants just get as confused as you are. The plants seem to get confused whether to bud or not to bud. If you love walking, be careful out there today it might be a bit slippery after that freezing rain yesterday. OH!and did you even go out yesterday? First thing and late in the day rain poured and I meant poured down. Dark skies mainly all early evening until it poured down, the morning showers on the other hand was freezing with a little bout of frigid wind....BRRRR....

On top of it all, I think we still have the best kind of weather here in California. If you are the sort of Weather news junkie it is crazy weather everywhere in the country nowadays...there's threat of flooding in some states, unimaginable hot weather this time of the year in the east, rain and snow in some and here in the Bay Area you know what it's been like lately. Who's complaining? I try to always see the beauty in nature, so I rather be thankful for all these snow and if there's rain (and I think there's more rain coming this weekend) because we can make good use of it during the summer.

Anyway, I have a few tidbits of reminders for you our dear Seniors for this constantly changing weather but particularly for the very cold weather. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have come out with reminders on "HOW TO WINTERIZE YOUR HOME", etc. It is basically an information drive to keep you, our Seniors, healthy and safe and hopefully away from cold-related illnesses during this season especially when it gets very cold like it is now.

If you are a Senior still living in your own home on your own or with your significant other, make sure you are prepared and ready for the cold weather. You need to winterize your home and prepare your car for the cold weather. Also, prepare for power outages as it is always a possibility during extreme weathers. Always keep in mind that Seniors are most at risk during cold or hot weather as your bodies are not as agile as they were a few years back.

Here is the CDC's educational Information for our Seniors:

"Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter"

Take These Steps for Your Home

Many people prefer to remain indoors during winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.

  • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.

  • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.

  • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.

  • Check your heating systems.

  • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.

  • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.

  • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.

  • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.

  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.

  • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.

  • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

Work slowly when doing outside chores.

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

Be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards.

Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Car

Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.

  • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.

  • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:

  • cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries;

  • blankets;

  • food and water;

  • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);

  • compass and maps;

  • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;

  • first-aid kit; and

  • plastic bags (for sanitation).

Equip in Advance for Emergencies

Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.

  • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.

  • When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:

  • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;

  • extra batteries;

  • first-aid kit and extra medicine;

  • baby items; and

  • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.

  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.

  • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.

  • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.

  • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

Take These Precautions Outdoors

Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.

  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.

  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.

  • Work slowly when doing outside chores.

  • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.

  • Carry a cell phone.

Do This When You Plan to Travel

When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.

  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.

  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.

  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.

  • Make your car visible to rescuers. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, raise the hood of the car (if it is not snowing), and turn on the inside overhead lights (when your engine is running).

  • Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area. Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.

  • Keep your body warm. Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Huddle with other people if you can.

  • Stay awake and stay moving. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems. As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve circulation and stay warmer.

  • Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe—this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

No one can stop the onset of winter. However, if you follow these suggestions, you will be ready for it when it comes.

Be sure to visit CDC’s Winter Weather webpage for more winter weather safety tips.


If you want to find out more on this topic, click HERE to read more from the CDC website.

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