Health preparations for winter cold

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages the public to prepare to reduce the risk of injury and illness while also ensuring a family is prepared for a major winter weather event.

Cold outdoor temperatures require residents to monitor not only their home temperature, but their body temperature as well. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises infants less than 1 year of age should never sleep in a cold room because infants lose body heat more easily than adults, and can’t produce body heat. Babies should not be wrapped in blankets, but rather dressed in warmer clothing such as footed pajamas.

It is also important for adults age 65 and older to remain in a warm atmosphere as they often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity.

Scott Sproat, director of the OSDH Emergency Preparedness and Response Service, said it’s important to use caution when heating a home with a fireplace, space heater or wood stove, using them only when they are properly vented.

“You can protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector,” said Sproat. “Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside the house, in basements, in garages, or near windows.”

Other tips to prepare for winter weather include:

  • Wear multiple layers of clothing to stay warm, as well as a hat, scarf, mittens, a water-resistant jacket and boots. Make sure you stay as dry as possible, as water against the skin from wet clothing can chill the body quickly.
  • Have your car winterized before the storm season. Keep the gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover them with plastic to keep out moisture.
  • Carry extra clothing, blankets and high energy snacks, such as trail mix or protein bars in your car.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water. For more information, visit www.ready.gov.