Drinking too much alcohol is not a good idea in extremely cold temperatures. Alcohol is dehydrating, which is less noticeable during the winter. Alcohol also interferes with the body’s internal thermometer, which can prevent shivering, and result in an accelerated loss of body heat.
Charge Your Cellphone
The importance of a cellphone can’t be overstated. These are the ultimate emergency devices, so make sure yours is charged and ready to go.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Blizzards can be especially hazardous for pets. During heavy snowfall, keep your dog on a leash during walks and add some colorful identifying tags to the collar. Also, be wary of melting ice; it can be very painful for dogs to walk over and is potentially toxic if ingested.
Exercise Caution When Shoveling
Shoveling is a necessity, but it’s also an easy way to throw out your back and even induce a heart attack. Remember to take constant breaks and stay hydrated.
Wearing three to four layers of clothing is the most effective way to insulate your body. Packing on some light-weight jackets or vests underneath a winter coat and wind breaker will allow you to tolerate the winter chill. Do not forget hats and earmuffs to keep warm.
Never Use a Generator Indoors
If you have an alternative power source such as a generator, make sure not to use it inside, even if it’s located in a basement, garage, or crawlspace. The fumes it creates contain carbon monoxide, which can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly, and pets.
Staying off the roads and remaining indoors is the best way to avoid winter hazards, but once the wind and the snow taper off, don’t be afraid to step outside and enjoy the snow.
Watch for Frostbite and Hypothermia
Symptoms for hypothermia include dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering. Symptoms for frostbite include numbness; flushed gray, white, blue, or yellow skin discoloration; or waxy-feeling skin. If you think you’re afflicted with either, call 911.