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Winter weather can be inconvenient and treacherous. The cold, ice and snow add complexities to our lives and potentially to our health. Sickness, frostbite and accidents are all things to consider when heading into winter. Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner Shari Hendricks offers this advice to help keep you safe and healthy.
Cold weather preparedness
Arctic-like temperatures can be dangerous to many, especially the very young and elderly. Take these precautions to ensure you and your family is safe:
General health best practices
Regardless of the time of year, there are certain steps you should take to be the healthiest you can be. But extreme cold can exacerbate the effects of some unhealthy choices. So, take these steps to improve your well-being, especially when you’re chilled to the bone:
Watch out for signs of frostbite
Frostbite is a very serious condition. The first step to preventing frostbite is to know when you’re most at risk. Your risk is higher if you smoke, have a blood vessel disease like diabetes, aren’t wearing proper clothing, are dehydrated or fatigued, and if you’re at a higher altitude.
Take these measures to prevent frostbite once you understand your risk:
Slips and falls
According to the National Safety Council, slips and falls account for almost 9 million unintentional injuries in the United States each year.
Tips for preventing slips and falls:
"As you endure — or enjoy — another Minnesota winter, keep this advice in mind," says Hendricks. "Staying healthy is important at all times of the year, and winter is no exception."