Winters are tough to get around, especially when they are as harsh as the ones in Canada. Most people have to deal with a slew of problems when they are in the frostiness of the winter. However, the most pressing concern is that people often face health hazards that even make them vulnerable in the cold.
The ones that have to face these trials the most are seniors or people with disabilities. Luckily, there are many ways they can prepare themselves for the upcoming season.
These safety tips are for those with disabilities or the ones around them. If you follow these tips, you will remain safe and warm through the coldest months of the year.
Monitor your physical health
People with disabilities are more prone to serious health problems because of the cold weather. The risks of frostbite and hypothermia are increasingly high for them. As a result, it is crucial to monitor your physical health. Even coming down to a flue can prove to be dangerous.
Here are a few tips to help you monitor your health better.
- Always wear sunscreen. Sunscreen prevents any damage from the sun’s reflection from the snow and helps avoid sunburn.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking a lot of water is crucial for your skin and health. Dehydrated skin becomes dry and cold, which makes it more susceptible to injuries.
- Apply petroleum jelly on any exposed area of your skin; this will prevent chapping and insulate moisture in your skin.
- Keep your thermostat at least 68 degrees to prevent hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a prominent concern for most disabled and older adults. Therefore, a significant part of the winter safety tips aspect is that these people must take precautions against this condition. Seniors are more likely to have hypothermia because they have a slower metabolism and their body doesn’t generate enough body heat.
Most older adults struggle with being able to tell if their body temperature has dropped; they tend to have a hard time determining their temperature. This means that common symptoms of hypothermia may go unnoticed. But there are a few others that are detectable:
- Slurred speech
- Cold extremities
- Violent shivering
You should also be on the lookout for any signs of frostbite. The most alarming and visible symptom of frostbite manifests as waxy and pale white skin that feels numb and hard. People with a history of heart disease or circulation issues are particularly susceptible to frostbite.
Frostbites usually affect your extremities and face, but when you go outside, you should cover everything just in case. And when your skin starts turning red or dark and starts to hurt, you must go inside and warm up immediately.
Wear warm clothes
Wearing warm clothes will protect you against the blistering cold. But, unfortunately, people often underestimate the value of wearing proper warm clothing. This is mainly because they don’t quite understand what qualifies as “proper warm clothing.” Well, we have listed a few articles of clothing along with the necessary additions of socks and boots.
Jackets and Sweaters
A jacket and sweater are one of the most apparent ways of gearing up for the winter ahead. These come in so many sizes, colours, patterns, and designs that it may feel difficult to decide. Regardless, they serve their purpose with each variation and style.
It would be best if you layered on multiple jackets and sweaters; you could also make it a fashion statement. Depending on the temperature around you, layering different pieces will be helpful when you want to add or remove clothing. As the air gets stuck between those multiple layers, it also serves as an additional layer of insulation you wouldn’t have received with a single heavy layer.
However, you should avoid cotton clothing. Cotton doesn’t have any insulation properties that would benefit you, and once it gets wet, it dries off with difficulty. This can be extremely dangerous, considering you will be exposed to even chillier weather once you get wet, increasing the risk of hyperthermia and frostbite.
Instead, it would be best if you went for manufactured and moisture-wicking materials that will be adequately insulated and dry easily and quickly.
Scarves and Hats
People lose most of their body heat through their heads, which makes hats one of the most essential winter accessories. Additionally, it is also an excellent idea for you to cover your nose and mouth. Did you know your lungs could freeze? Yes, they can, so do care for them and wear a scarf to prevent such a disaster.
Remember that you must ensure the best care for your head, nose, and mouth because that is where most body heat dissipates.
Mittens and Gloves
Speaking of body heat, hands are also a credible source. Unfortunately, a lot of body heat goes to waste when your hands are cold. Not to mention, frigid hands are at a higher risk of frostbite.
It would help if you considered investing in thermal gloves; they have a thinner material at their fingertips which will help you hold your cane or move your chair more easily. Or, if you have difficulty opening your fingers, you should opt for a pair of mittens instead.
Another tip is to put heating pads or warmers in your pockets and touch them when your hands grow cold.
- Socks and Boots
- Keep Your Wheelchair Prepared
Just as it is common and mandatory for people to clean, maintain, and prepare their cars and vehicles for the winter and snow ahead, you must maintain and prepare your wheelchair.
When winter strikes, you should install snow tires on your wheelchair to prevent getting stuck; they are softer material, making them easy to grab.
And if you use a cane or a walker, you should get clean rubber tips so the cane or walker will have a better grip on the road.
These tips are for people with disabilities because they struggle in the cold weather. They are more vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia, so they must follow these tips to the boot.
When you follow this advice, you won’t face any difficulty preparing for winter this year; you will be warm and safe throughout.