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Winter Health and Safety Tips

Together, we can keep ourselves and our neighbors as healthy and safe as possible throughout the winter months.

Take a moment to read through these tips and formulate a plan for these situations, so you and your family are prepared.

 

Personal Health

  • washing handsFlu Vaccine: It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine. Hutchinson Health’s vaccine is one of the only quadravalent vaccines in the area. Which means it covers all 4 strains of the virus. Walk-ins welcome, appointments appreciated.  320-234-3290
  • Protect your skin: Sunscreen is not just for summer. In fact, the sun is very intense in the winter and reflects off the snow making sunscreen application a necessity. Prior to spending a day on the slopes or sledding with the kids, apply sunscreen and protect your skin.
  • Wash your hands: Keeping your hands clean is a critical step toward staying healthy and avoiding the spread of germs. Be sure to wash your hands with soap, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds under running water. Help young children to adequately wash and dry their hands.

Home

  • carbon monoxide detectorCarbon monoxide detector:  While carbon monoxide poisoning can happen anytime, most accidental poisonings happen in the winter months. People close up their homes to keep the cold air out and turn up the heat. Gas furnaces can accidently leak CO into the home. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home and have your furnace regularly inspected. Call 911 if you suspect carbon monoxide in your home.
  • Heating: Never leave children alone in a room with a fireplace or space heater. Read more information on fire injuries and prevention from the CDC.
  • Check on neighbors: Check in with elderly neighbors, vulnerable adults, and/or families with young children in winter storms, extremely cold temperatures, and power outages. It’s imperative that people have enough food, water, adequate heat, and medications.

Outdoors

  • shoveling snowFrostbite and Hypothermia: It takes a lot of energy to be outside for prolonged periods of time. Exposure to the cold will burn up your stored energy and can result in hypothermia. Prolonged exposure of body or skin to freezing cold weather will cause an injury often referred to as frostbite. Dress warmly and in layers, limit your time outside during cold weather, and consult medical assistance immediately if you suspect you or someone else could be experiencing hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Shoveling: Shoveling snow and being outside in cold weather puts an extra strain on your heart and your back. Your body has to work hard just to stay warm. Take extra care to dress warmly, work for short periods of time, rest, and listen to your body. Lift with your legs, limit the weight/snow on the shovel at a time, be careful not to strain your back, and avoid shoveling in unnatural positions or motions.
  • Slips/Falls: Many cold weather injuries result from falls on slippery, ice-covered surfaces. It’s best to try to keep your front steps, walkways, and sidewalks as free of ice and snow build-up as possible. Use salt and sand to reduce the risk of slipping, and take great care to assist those who could use assistance with walking and balance.

Traveling

  • baby buckled upSeatbelts: It is imperative you wear your seat belt at all times, and children are properly secured in safety seats. Winter road conditions change rapidly, and even a short, two minute commute can turn treacherous with unexpected slippery spots and intersections.
  • Winter Survival Kits: It is essential that you keep warm winter gear, blankets, and survival items in your car throughout the winter months. For a complete list of items recommended by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, print off this checklist
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