Your Essential Guide For Winter Weather

Winter storms can pack a wallop. But, people who prepare before temperatures plummet are more likely to stay safe and healthy during winter months. Furthermore, for those who want to get outside and enjoy the winter wonderland, it’s important to stay protected against the cold.  
Preparing Your Home
Make sure to closely monitor your heating system to ensure that it is working. If you are having difficulty with heat, make sure to utilize an alternate heat source (e.g., space heater).
Inspect and clean your fireplace before you have an indoor fire.

Stock up on water and nonperishable foods that don't need to be cooked.

Keep cellphones fully charged.

Put together an emergency kit. It should contain flashlights, a weather radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit that includes medication, baby items and cat litter or sand to provide traction on slippery walkways.

Preparing Your Car

Keep the gas tank full to prevent the fuel tank and lines from getting icy, especially with extra traffic, you could be on the road longer than expected.

Use a winterized windshield washer and make sure to have a window scraper on hand.
It’s also important to assemble a winter emergency kit for your car, this should include:

  • Blankets
  • Food and water
  • Booster cables
  • Tire pump
  • Bag of sand or cat litter to help with traction
  • Maps and a compass
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Plastic bags (to store waste)

Make sure to tell a friend or relative where you are driving so that if you become stranded, someone can help seek assistance.

If you do become stranded, keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay with the car unless a safer place is within 100 yards.
  • Stay visible. Put a bright cloth on the car antenna, turn on the inside overhead light while the engine is running and raise the hood once snow stops.
  • Run the engine and heater for no more than 10 minutes every hour.
  • Keep a downwind window open.
  • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Preparing to Go Outside

The most common injuries that people experience when they go outside in cold weather for an extended period of time include: hypothermia (which is when a person develops a low "core" body temperature); frostbite (freezing injuries of the extremities) and nonfreezing injuries such as immersion foot, also known as "trench foot," due to prolonged exposure to wet, cold socks and shoes or boots.

To prevent these injuries, make sure to:

  • Wear insulated clothing that also enables moisture to evaporate.
  • It's also helpful to dress in layers that can be adjusted with temperature changes and that allow moisture to evaporate through the innermost layer.
  • Don't forget to have extra shoes, socks, gloves and other clothing items available to replace wet clothing, which is a major risk factor for cold injuries.
  • Don’t forget to take regular breaks indoors, eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.
  • If you do notice the signs of a cold injury, make sure to get indoors, remove damp clothing, keep warm and seek urgent medical care.

Prepared for Winter

At Gwinnett Medical Center, we are prepared to provide you and your family with the care you need, no matter the weather. With experts available to you every day at ChoiceOne Urgent Care, a partner of Gwinnett Medical Center, you can rest assured that your health is in good hands. And while we hope you never need it; our Emergency Department is open to care for you 24 hours a day.  

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