Living Well 60+ January-February 2014 - Page 14

14 JAN/FEB 2014 and dead. Left unchecked, there will be a decrease in sensation until it is completely lost. Winter Safety Reminders Tips for shoveling and treating frostbite and hypothermia by Angela S. Hoover, Staff Writer Love it or hate it, cold weather is here. And with it comes extra precautions to consider when shoveling snow, driving or just getting out and about. Snow Shoveling It’s not only a necessary task, it’s a great workout. But don’t let it put you out. Anyone older than 40 or with a history of heart trouble should use extreme caution while shoveling snow. Dress with extra care to keep your hands and feet warm and dry. Warm up and stretch before beginning; stretch again when you’re done. Go slowly and take breaks. If possible, only shovel fresh snow since wet, packed snow is more difficult. Pick up only small amounts. Remember to use your legs, not your back. Bend and “sit” into the movement while keeping your back straight. Don’t work to the point of exhaustion. Stop immediately if your chest feels tight, regardless of your age or health. Frostbite At the first sign of frostbite, get to a warm place and seek medical attention. Softly handle the affected area; never rub it. If possible, slowly warm it up by soaking it in lukewarm water (100-105 degrees Fahrenheit) until it appears red and feels warm. Do not expose it directly or close to a fire. If fingers or toes are affected, place dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them separated. Avoid breaking blisters. Do not allow the affected area to refreeze. Hypothermia Frostbite is when skin and extremities freeze. The nose, cheeks, fingers and toes are most commonly affected. Frostbite starts with burning, numbness, tingling, itching or cold sensations in the affected areas. The skin appears white, gray, yellow or blue and is cold to the touch. The area is hard and may even appear blackened Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This abnormally low body temperature can make a person sleepy, confused and clumsy. It may