Be cautious venturing outside in the bitter cold

January 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

- Falling down . I’ve fallen down once this winter due to slipping on icy pavement. I wasn’t hurt, but I know several people who have broken wrists, hips, arms and ankles due to slipping on ice. A couple of tips to avoid slipping on ice:

1) wear shoes with good traction. If you don’t have any, invest in slip on traction devices like Yak Trax – they work like chains on tires by providing metal cleats that bite into the ice to keep you from slipping.

2) Use a walking stick, preferably one with a pointed tip. This will improve balance while walking across a slick surface.

If you do find yourself falling, try to remember not to put your arms out to catch yourself – that is the cause of most wrist and arm fractures when falling. Instead, try to remember to tuck your arms in, relax your body and roll so that you land on your shoulder and then roll onto your back. The rolling motion helps dissipate the energy from striking the ground. Trust me, I’ve done this, and it does work.

In general, there are commonsense steps you should take to stay safe in the bitter cold:

-Wear a hat. Mom was right – wearing a hat in cold weather is one of the smartest things to do, as a lot of heat will escape through your head if you don’t.

-Dress in layers – layers trap air between the layers, and air is a great insulator.

-Stay dry. If you get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as practical. Moisture will speed heat loss.

-Eat food and drink water. Being outside in the extreme cold causes the body to burn more calories. Also, the air holds less moisture as the temperature drops, so it is important to make sure your body is well hydrated. But, avoid alcohol – it can cause your body to lose heat more quickly.

If driving in the cold, be sure to have your cell phone with you, as well as a set of jumper cables, a bag of sand or kitty litter for traction if needed, and an ice scraper.

Finally, when it is cold, don’t leave your pets outside for very long, unless there is a sheltered, warm spot that they can go into. Pets can get hypothermia and frostbite just like people!

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