EMSA offers cold-weather tips to keep you safe
Colder temperatures are expected to affect Oklahoma in the next few days. EMSA medics advise Oklahomans to prepare and know what to do when temperatures drop to dangerous levels inside and outside the home.
EMSA advises Oklahomans to stock up on their medications and medical equipment needed before the colder weather blankets the State. Elderly loved ones need to be reminded to keep safety in mind over heating bills.
People who live in poorly heated homes risk getting accidental hypothermia when the weather is cold. Even mildly cool temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celcius) to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celcius) can trigger the condition.
Homes can have inadequate insulation, or people with low incomes and little savings may keep temperatures in the dangerous range as they try to keep heating bills down. Some illnesses and medications place a person at risk because they affect the way the body handles cold temperatures. Illnesses that may blunt the response to cold include:
* Slow thyroid (hypothyroidism) or other disorders of the body's hormone system.
* Stroke or other disorders that cause paralysis and reduce awareness.
* Severe arthritis, Parkinson's disease, or other illnesses that limit activity.
* Any condition that curbs the normal flow of blood.
* Memory disorders.
Certain medicines also increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. They include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea, and some over-the-counter cold remedies. Ask your doctor how your medicines affect body heat. In addition to some medication, alcoholic drinks lower the body's ability to retain heat.
In winter, heating and lighting usage in the home can be taken for granted. Here are a few safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
• Have your heating system, water heater and any other fuel-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Keep portable heaters, smoking materials and candles away from bedding, curtains or other combustibles.
• Wood stoves or fireplaces should be installed according to existing building codes and manufacturer's instructions.
• Check the chimney and stovepipe frequently during the heating season for creosote buildup and clean when necessary.
• Use only proper fuel in the stove or fireplace.
• Keep combustibles such as curtains, chairs, firewood, etc., at least 3 feet away from any stove.
• Use a metal container with a tight-fitting lid for ash removal.
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