Take some precautions to avoid some of these winter health risks for you or your loved one.
- This dangerous condition happens when the body tempature goes below 95 degrees and is unable to warm itself back up. Watch for symptoms like shivering, cold skin that is pale or ashy, lack of coordination and reaction times, mental confusion, weakness and sleepiness, among others. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you or someone you know maybe experiencing hypothermia.
- This most commonly affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Symptoms can include skin that’s white, ashy, or gray-ish yellow; feels waxy or hard or is numb. Cover up all exposed skin when going outside. If frostbite does occur, put the frost-bitten skin in warm water and seek medical attention.
Heart attacks and high blood pressure
- Cold snaps can increase blood pressure and strain on a person’s heart, as it has to work harder to maintain body. This can cause a rise in high blood pressure. If possible, have the person with high blood pressure avoid strenuous activities in the cold, such as shoveling.
- This can happen to some people with arthritis. Mild exercise can help, especially swimming. Swimming is a great activity in the winter as it is easy on the joints and it can help break up the winter blues by being in a warmer environment.
- The lack of sun and isolation from weather can worsen depression. Vitamin D is helpful and eating foods like milk, grains, and seafood (like salmon and tuna) is a great way to get some.
- This is more common with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and COPD. The sensitivity to cold air can trigger spasms. A face/ski mask can be worn to help warm the air from a person’s breath before it enters their lungs.
- The flu can be very dangerous for seniors and cause pneumonia. Getting a flu vaccine is a great first step in helping to protect a person. Even getting the shot in January can help against the usual late winter outbreak.
Stay safe and healthy this winter!