HCN News & Notes

Be Prepared for Winter Storms and Frigid Cold

SPRINGFIELD — With a winter storm on its way tonight, the time to prepare is now.

“People who rely on medication should be confirming today that their prescriptions are filled,” said Donna Lee, health care coordinator for CHD Meadows Homes. “They should also ensure there is adequate food and water in the house. Don’t wait. With bad weather, basic supplies often sell out quickly, and public transportation may not be available.”

Lee also offered tips for being outside during frigid weather.

“Dress in multiple loose layers,” she said. “Wear your warmest boots with heavy socks, a hat, and gloves. Wear a scarf to cover your mouth and help protect your lungs from the frigid air. That’s especially important for people with asthma, as cold air can trigger lung spasms. Limit your time outside and cover any exposed skin, because frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes.”

Lee points to other risks brought on by snow and frigid cold. “For people who are unsteady on their feet, snow and ice can increase their risk for falls. People shoveling heavy snow are at higher risk of heart attack. Cold weather also impacts populations at greater risk, including the elderly, children, people with disabilities, people without adequate shelter, and even pets.”

There is one more thing Lee says people can do when it gets cold. “Be a good neighbor. Check on family and friends, especially the elderly, people with medical conditions, and anyone who may need some extra help. Being a good neighbor is courteous, and when winter weather hits hard, it could save a life.”