About Winter Weather
- You may have to cope with power failures, loss of communication services, and icy roads.
- Many homes will be too cold.
- Space heaters and fireplaces increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- When temperatures drop below normal, heat can leave your body more rapidly.
- Exposure to cold temperature can cause serious health problems.
When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Extremely cold temperatures often accompany a winter storm, so you may have to cope with power failures, loss of communication services, and icy roads. Although staying indoors as much as possible can help reduce the risk of car crashes and falls on the ice, you may also face indoor hazards. Many homes will be too cold either due to a power failure or because the heating system isn't adequate for the weather. Using space heaters and fireplaces to stay warm can increase the risk of household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and older adults are particularly at risk but anyone can be affected. To keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.
The emergency procedures outlined here are not a substitute for training in first aid. However, these procedures will help you to know when to seek medical care and what to do until help becomes available.
What Is Extreme Cold?
What constitutes extreme cold and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered extreme cold. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems such as hypothermia. Extreme cold is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in those who are susceptible, such as people without shelter, people who are stranded, or people who live in a home that is poorly insulated or without heat.
Learn More: Stay Safe and Healthy
- Page last reviewed: December 6, 2013
- Page last updated: December 6, 2013
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