Health and Safey Tips At You Home
The loveable Disney fish Nemo and the less endearing Captain Nemo will now share their names with a potentially devastating snowstorm. For those in the northeastern United States, the problem has shifted from finding Nemo to avoiding Nemo as the winter storm rolls in.
Many in the Northeast have already begun to prepare with the memories of Super Storm Sandy’s destruction still fresh in their minds. Here are some tips for those still looking to make last-minute preparations:
Stock up on gas, food, batteries, and other supplies. Sandy left many cars without gas and homes without power. If you haven’t restocked your supply cabinets, now’s the time to make sure you have several days supply of food and bottled water, plus flashlights and batteries. Lines are already forming at some gas stations, and they could get a lot worse before they get better. Try and have one full tank of gas ready to go in case of an emergency.
Check your heating systems. The U.S. Center for Disease Control’s website recommends that you “have a safe alternate heating source” — like a clean fireplace or portable space heater. They also recommend checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Dress appropriately to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. If you have to go outside, make sure to wear a winter coat, hat, boots and gloves. Don’t touch snow without wearing gloves, and remember that frostbite most often affects the parts of your body not covered by clothing. The risk of contracting hypothermia or being frostbitten increases the longer you are outside.
Be careful when using a snow blower. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, snow-blower accidents are responsible for more than 5,700 annual injuries requiring emergency room visits.
“Keep hands and fingers out of the snow-blower mechanism whether it’s running OR turned off,” said R. Michael Koch, M.D., chief of the microsurgery and replantation service at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, in a press release.
Dr. Koch also recommends wearing thick gloves, paying careful attention when operating the blower, and taking advantage of safety devices built into most snow blowers.
Take precautions while shoveling snow. Using a shovel might seem safer than using a snow blower, but both carry risks. Drinking water, avoiding caffeine and nicotine, and lightening the amount of snow per lift can help you clean your driveway and sidewalks pain-free. Remember, snow can be heavy, and shoveling can be a form of weight lifting. If you have heart problems, consider hiring someone to shovel for you. Overworking yourself can lead to severe consequences, such as heart attacks.
Avoid driving in the snow. The CDC recommends avoiding travel when the weather service has issued advisories. According to icyroadsafety.com, there were 477 deaths due to icy road conditions during the 2008-2009 winter season and 458 deaths during the 2009-2010 season. A major storm like Nemo could inflate those numbers. If you must drive, wait until after snow plows have driven through and cleaned the roads in your town.