WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- With this week’s blast of wintry weather, residents are reminded to take precautions against hypothermia and frostbite and to take care when using alternative home heating sources.
Low temperatures can be life-threatening, especially for seniors, infants and people who are at increased risk for hypothermia. To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, be sure to wear a hat and gloves and lots of layers when heading outdoors. If a safe temperature cannot be maintained inside your home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere.
Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech. Infants with hypothermia may appear sluggish, with very low energy and have bright red, cold skin. Frostbite is another cold weather concern. Numbness can occur so quickly that the individual, unaware of being frostbitten, may remain outside, increasing the chance of permanent damage.
Tips to prevent frostbite and hypothermia include:
- Dress warmly in windproof clothing.
- Go indoors when you begin to feel cold.
- Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing to trap body heat.
- Remember gloves, scarves and a hat that covers the ears.
- Never use a generator inside your house or in partly enclosed areas, such as garages, basements, porches, crawlspaces, sheds, carports or breezeways, even if your windows are open. Generators should only be operated outside, away from open windows.
The Health Department also reminds residents to take the following precautions when using alternative home heating sources:
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using alternative heating sources such as space heaters and wood burning stoves.
- Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.
- Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use -- don’t substitute.
- Do not place a space heater within three feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture or bedding and never cover your space heater.
- Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
- Never leave children or pets unattended near a space heater, fireplace or wood burning stove.
For more information on cold weather safety, contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or visit www.westchestergov.com/health .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.