Cold Weather Safety for Senior Adults
December 21st 2022
As the temperatures drop, it is important to consider cold weather safety. Senior adults are more sensitive to the cold and run a higher risk of developing health issues and injuries related to cold weather. It is important to know the risks and how to address them to have a safe and enjoyable winter.
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops to a dangerously low level. Senior adults are more susceptible to hypothermia because their bodies lose heat faster than they used to.
One of the best things you can do is stay warm. Make sure your house or apartment temperature is warm enough, and dress warmly in layers. Take the time to wear warm socks or slippers while inside and continue to move to keep your blood flowing.
Another danger of cold weather is frostbite. Severe frostbite can occur within 30 minutes of exposure to freezing temperatures. Senior adults are more susceptible to frostbite because of their lower body temperature. Avoid frostbite the same way you would avoid hypothermia.
Senior adults are at a higher risk of slipping and falling during winter months. If you live in an area with snow and ice, there are precautions you should be taking to prevent incidents of falling this winter. Make sure the steps and walkways are clear before you walk on them – especially if the pavement looks like it could be wet or iced over.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Once the cold weather hits, it becomes common to use gas-powered fireplaces, furnaces, and other heating sources. There is likely to be a spike in carbon monoxide poisoning. It may not be the first thing you think about with winter safety. Still, it is important to be aware of the possibility and the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including confusion, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.
The winter months are the height of flu season, and senior adults should be cautious since it is more difficult for their immune system to fight the flu virus. Senior adults are also more susceptible to complications from the flu virus. It is important to get your flu shot every year and if you can avoid larger crowds of people to avoid coming in contact with the virus.
Taking time to be aware of safety measures this winter is important and can help ensure you are healthy and happy all winter long.