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Stay Safe During Extreme Cold, Winter Weather

Providence, RI - The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) is issuing an advisory to remind people of precautions to take in extreme cold and during winter storms. Frigid temperatures are predicted into the weekend and a winter storm is expected. It is especially important that all Rhode Islanders take the following precautions:

1.Check on elderly family, friends and neighbors frequently. The elderly are especially susceptible to extremely cold temperatures and may not be able to shovel their own driveways and sidewalks.

2.Watch for icy or slippery spots on driveways and walkways to help prevent injuries from slips and falls.

3.Dress warmly if you are outside, especially if you are not physically active. Wear a coat, hat, scarf and gloves even for a short walk to a mailbox. A fall or a locked door can leave you exposed to extreme cold.

4.When shoveling snow, don't pick up too much snow at once. Use a smaller shovel, or only fill the shovel part way if you use a large shovel. Push the snow as you shovel it is easier on your back. If you must lift the snow, protect your back. Bend from your knees, and lift with your legs bent. Stand with your feet about hip width apart for good balance, and keep the shovel close to your body.

5.Indoor temperatures should be set according to activity level, health and medications. A safe, fuel-saving temperature for a young, active family may be dangerous for an older person who has trouble moving or is taking certain medications.

6.Avoid drinking alcohol as it can lower the body's ability to keep warm.

7.Hydrate. Drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated, no-sugar beverages. (You can get dehydrated in cold weather too.)

8.If someone has been exposed to extreme cold and is showing signs of hypothermia (confusion, trouble walking, shivering) call 911 right away. Cover the person with a warm blanket. Do not rub the person's arms or legs.

"Exposure to lower-than-normal temperatures for even a short time can be dangerous for the very young, elderly, and those with chronic diseases," said Director of Health, Michael Fine, MD. "It is important that all Rhode Islanders use caution during extreme cold and winter storms, and as a community, be particularly aware of those who are most at risk."

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Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 12-13-2013

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