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warp6: Friendly but serious reminder to stay safe, FOR REAL, YES YOU ALL OF YOU in the eastern...

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warp6:

Friendly but serious reminder to stay safe, FOR REAL, YES YOU ALL OF YOU in the eastern two-thirds of the United States who are getting hit with an arctic air mass this week. NOAA put out an alert calling it a “very dangerous and life-threatening arctic air mass;” this is for real.

I know from growing up in the cold that it can be Really Easy to assume you’ll be fine and not take proper precautions because it’s “just cold” and you’re used to it, but extreme cold affects the body in ways that even those of us who grew up with cold winters are not necessarily familiar with.

Extreme cold can be very dangerous–even if you’re physically healthy, even “just” outside in your own neighborhood, etc.

One of my (adult, not even elderly) relative’s feet got frostbite last winter from being outside too long in too cold weather (even though they were wearing socks and boots), and the thing is, frostbite is a type of injury to the skin that then lasts, so it still causes them pain. Sometimes we think of health risks in terms of very stark black-and-white life-threatening-or-not, but even cold that isn’t bad enough to kill you can cause long-lasting damage that will be a pain in the ass for a long time.

Elderly people in their homes during extreme cold are some of those most at risk, so check in with your elderly friends, neighbors or relatives.

Please stay safe out there <3 <3 <3

NOAA page on preparing for cold weather

NOAA’s list of things to have in your car:

  • Jumper cables: flares or reflective triangle are great extras
  • Flashlights: Replace the batteries before the winter season starts and pack some extras
  • First Aid Kit: Also check your purse of bag for essential medications
  • Baby, special needs gear: If you have a baby or family member with special needs, pack diapers and any special formula or food
  • Food: Stock non-perishable food such as canned food and a can opener, dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
  • Water: Have at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days
  • Basic toolkit: Pliers, wrench, screwdriver
  • Pet supplies: Food and water
  • Radio: Battery or hand cranked
  • Cat litter or sand: For better tire traction
  • Shovel: To dig out snow
  • Ice scraper: Even if you usually park in a garage, have one in the car.
  • Clothes: Make sure you dress for the weather in warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
  • Warmers: Pack extra for body, hands, feet
  • Blankets or sleeping bags: If you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road, you’ll be glad to have it.
  • Charged Cell Phone: Keep a 
  • Spare charger in your car as well

NOAA page on hypothermia and frostbite prevention and first aid

“Frostbite can happen in minutes, especially on the extremities such as fingers, toes, nose and ears but can affect any area of exposed skin. If you suspect frostbite, immediately move inside to a heated location and begin warming the affected areas using warm water or body heat. Do not use hot water or radiant heat such as a fireplace since affected areas can be easily burned. Seek medical attention for severe frostbite.” More

“If your temperature is 96°F or less, you feel cold and sluggish, or are having trouble thinking clearly, see your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. It’s better to be overly cautious than to die of a disorder that doesn’t have to be deadly. If you are trying to help someone who may have hypothermia, first call an ambulance. Then lie close to the person and cover both of you with thick blankets. The hotter you get, the more warmth you can give the other person. Don’t rub the person or handle him or her roughly.” More

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