Winter can be harsh, and while the 2014-2015 winter freeze has only just begun to sink in, colder temperatures are on their way. While snow fall and freezing temperatures creep in, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to prepare ourselves for the impeding season.
Overexertion can be one of the biggest killers during the winter season. It is important to know when to pace yourself during physical tasks such as shoveling snow and to keep hydrated, even during the cold.
Heart attacks are common while people are shoveling snow, so it is key to pay attention to signs of exhaustion.
The State of Michigan suggests the following tips for staying healthy throughout the winter:
• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers
• Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves
• Be sure to wear a hat, as most body heat is lost through the top of your head
• Keep clothing dry to prevent hypothermia
Since your home is undoubtedly one of your biggest investments, it is important to protect it against the cold.
You can prepare for the hardships of winter by planning early and following these tips:
• Insulate your home (Caulk cracks, replace weather strips, prepare pipes)
• Clean out the gutters and down spouts to prevent ice dams
• Begin a stock pile (Flashlights, batteries, radio, food, water, first aid)
• Invest in alternative heat sources and generators
For more home preparedness, refer to Winter Freeze
With the winter comes hazardous driving conditions. By making sure that your car is up-to-date on all of it’s care, you will be one step closer to safer driving.
• Check your tires to make sure they have the correct pressure and that the treads aren’t worn down
• Clean your fuel injector to help your car start quickly and idle smoothly in the cold
• Check fluid levels such as brake, coolant, power steering, transmission and windshield washer
• Keep fuel take as full as possible to prevent condensation
• Keep an emergency kit in the car (Blankets, flares, cables, food, water)
If you are like the millions of animal owners across the county, your pets are part of your family.
Follow these tips to make sure that your pets are taken care of as well:
• Bring animals in during extreme cold spells
• Make walks with puppies and elderly dogs short as they cannot tolerate the cold as easily
• After walks, thoroughly clean a dog’s underside and legs as they can ingest salt or other chemicals
• If an animal is outside, be aware of enclosures and tethers (This limits mobility, which decreases warmth)
• Check warm engines for cats and small wildlife before starting cars
It is important to remember that, if it is too cold for us, it is too cold for our pets.
For more information, check out the 2014-2015 Michigan Winter Hazards Awareness packet from the State of Michigan.