Baby, It’s Cold Outside! When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls in ice and snow. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are a few precautions everyone should take, especially older adults, during the winter.
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops to a dangerous level. Your body temperature can drop when you are out in the cold for an extended time because it begins to lose heat quickly. Older adults are at an increased risk of hypothermia due to changes that happen to your body with aging.
Warning Signs: cold skin that is pale or ashy; feeling very tired, confused and sleepy; feeling weak; problems walking; slowed breathing or heart rate. Call 911 if you think you or someone else has hypothermia.
It is easy to slip and fall in the winter, especially in icy and snowy conditions.
Make sure steps and walkways are clear before you walk. Be especially careful if you see wet pavements that could be iced over.
Clear away snow and salt your walkways at home, or hire someone to do it.
Wear boots with non-skid soles – this will prevent you from slipping.
If you use a cane, replace the rubber tip before it is worn smooth.
Consider an ice pick-like attachment that fits onto the end of the cane for additional traction.
During the winter months, it is common to use the fireplace or other heating sources, such as natural gas, kerosene, and other fuels. Unless fireplaces, wood and gas stoves and gas appliances are properly vented, cleaned, and used, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide—a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell. These and other appliances, such as space heaters, can also be fire hazards.
Nausea or vomiting
Loss of consciousness