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The Madison Blog

Senior Health Precautions for the Winter Months

Even seniors in good health should take extra precautions in the winter months. The risk of falls with injuries and hypothermia are more pronounced as we age. Most home fires occur during the winter, and seniors are three times more likely to be injured in a home fire. Also, heaters and household appliances that are fueled by gas, oil, kerosene or wood can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Please review the following tips to help you and your loved one stay happy and healthy until the first flowers of spring emerge:

• Being independent doesn’t mean “going it alone” against Old Man Winter. Children, relatives and neighbors should check on seniors regularly and help where needed during the winter season.

• Avoid going outside during extreme cold. If you must be outside, dress in layers and cover all exposed skin. Water repellent outer layers and boots will help.

• Conserve interior heat by closing doors to rooms not used daily. Cover windows with draperies and place towels along cracks at the bottom of doors.

• Remain hydrated! Prepare vegetable-laden stews and soups made with reduced-sodium broths. Limit alcohol, caffeine and cigarette smoking.

• Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home; check the batteries monthly, and change them at least annually.

• Remember that space heaters need space. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from the heater. If you buy a new one get the type that automatically turns off in the event it tips over.

• Take extra care when using fireplaces, wood stoves, candles and space heaters. Have your wood stove or fireplace inspected and cleaned before use and install protective screening for sparks.

• Get an approved fire extinguisher for the home; learn how to use it and check it annually.

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