Here are some safety and energy-efficiency tips to consider as temperatures fall:
• Avoid using a stove to heat your home.
• When using an alternate heat source such as a fireplace, wood stove, portable/kerosene heater or electric heaters, use caution, practice fire safety, provide for proper ventilation and follow all manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
• Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
• If you use candles, be careful with them. Keep them away from children and combustible materials and never leave lit candles unattended.
• Take precautions with your pets and limit their time outside.
• Lower thermostat to 68 degrees or lower to save on heating costs.
• Prevent drafts by closing fireplace dampers when not in use.
• Frostbite injuries result in damage to skin and underlying tissues. Similar to burn injuries, the damage to the skin can be serious and can occur quickly. When the wind chill factor dips below zero, frostbite can set in within minutes.
“Extreme cold and icy conditions always bring an increased number of patients with frostbite injuries to our burn center each winter,” said Dr. Rajiv Sood, medical director of the hospital’s burn unit. “After seeing an increase in frostbite patients the last couple years, we want to make sure people are taking the proper precautions to prevent cold weather injuries.
“It is important to properly guard yourself against frostbite and other cold-related injuries that accompany the winter weather by wearing appropriate clothing and protection.”
Symptoms include a tingling sensation, followed by numbness on the affected area. Skin where frostbite has set in will be hard, pale and cold and will have no feeling. In more severe cases the skin will become white and numb and may also have blisters, and blackened or dead tissue may result. Frostbite can potentially cause damage to tendons, muscles, nerves and bone.
Doctors say if you feel symptoms of frostbite coming on, do not rub or massage the affected area, as it may cause further damage to the skin. Move to a warm area, remove all wet clothing and apply dry, sterile dressings to the frostbitten skin. If the symptoms are severe and normal color and feeling do not return to the area, contact a health care professional immediately.
Remember your pets
• The best place for your pet is inside, but if kept outdoors your pet must have access to dry shelter.
• Keep your pet warm and safe by using straw in outdoor shelters, not blankets and towels. Blankets and towels draw moisture and don’t provide as much insulation and warmth as straw. Make sure you keep water available and check the dish every few hours to make sure the water hasn’t frozen over.
• Bring your pets inside when temperatures are at or below 20 degrees or if a wind chill advisory has been issued. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your fuzzy companions.
With a bit of smart preparation you can keep your pets well cared for during the Christmas season and beyond.