Get Healthy Carson City: Out in the cold: Cool weather preparedness tips

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This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Carson City is in the midst of a winter storm. Although this system is projected to bring mostly rain to our valley, areas in the mountains are getting snow, and our region has already experienced dangerously cold temperatures this year. When the temperature drops, there are some important steps you should take to make sure that you, your loved ones, and family pets stay safe. Carson City Health and Human Services and the American Red Cross are happy to team up to share these cold weather tips with you.

Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will keep you warmer and help prevent frostbite. If your hands, feet, nose or ears start to feel prickly or numb in cold weather, take a break and go inside to warm up before frostbite damages your skin.

Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and ensure that they always have access to fresh, unfrozen water.

Ice is not nice. Whether you’re walking down the sidewalk or driving down the road, ice can make a normal trip treacherous. Slow down for safety to avoid an accident. Especially while driving, allow extra space between vehicles if roads are covered in snow or ice.

Carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed. Most carbon monoxide poisonings take place during the winter months, so prevent poisoning. Do not heat your home with a gas range or oven, never run a car or truck inside an attached garage, and never operate a generator inside, including in the basement or garage.

Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs. Additionally, if you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable like furniture, bedding, or curtains at least three feet away. Finally, make sure any heat source is put out or turned off before you leave the room and can’t be knocked over by children or pets.

Protect your pipes. Run water, just a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage. Busted water lines can cause extensive damage to your home.

Shovel smart. When the snow flies, shoveling it can be a risk. Push the snow rather than lifting. If you do lift it, only try to lift a manageable weight and always lift with your legs, not your back. Don’t pick up that shovel without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease. If you feel tightness in the chest or dizziness, stop immediately.

Travel safely. Check the weather before you attempt to travel, especially over mountain passes. Choose to travel when conditions are safe, not during storms. Always carry tire chains, as well as food, water, and jackets in case you become stranded.

Carson City Health and Human Services wishes you health and safety this winter! For more information about the flu or other Health Department services, check out our website at or “Like” us on Facebook at


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