As frigid Arctic air dogs the Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area, local residents and business owners find themselves at risk for diverse dangers, including hypothermia, the flu, weakened immune systems, slick ice, and fatigue. A new scientific study suggests that cold really might be able to make you sick – just like your mother used to tell you. In the study, mice subjected to severe cold developed more acute rhinovirus-related symptoms than did mice kept at milder temperatures.
Another study suggests that cold itself can be contagious. Per RealClearScience: there’s… chilling news coming out of the journal PlOS One… neuroscientists from the United Kingdom reported that cold is contagious. Yes, just looking at someone who’s shivering or experiencing frigid temperatures can cause parts of your own body to become colder.”
Here are five ideas for how to protect yourself from the worst that Old Man Winter throws your way this January.
1. Solidify your emergency plans.
Develop a plan with your family for what to do during frigid spells or blizzards. How will you get in touch with each other? Where will you meet up? How will you handle an emergency with one of the kids? Etc. Write your plan down, and make sure that everyone in your family – particularly children who are old enough to understand – are on the same page.
2. Make sure you have enough food and medication at home.
This is keen advice, particularly if you elderly or very young people at home. Don’t put yourself in the position where you have to choose between “braving” blowing snow to Rite Aid at 2 in the morning versus staying inside and suffering from a flare up.
3. Reduce or eliminate unnecessary travel.
Even if your vehicle is weatherized and ready, avoid putting miles on the road. You have no way to predict (or protect yourself against) the behavior of other drivers.
4. Prepare your car for the cold.
When was the last time you had your brake fluids and anti-freeze levels checked? Is your battery in good condition … or at risk of being frozen out during an Arctic blast? Do you have the right tires and treads installed? Are your heater, defroster and thermostats all functioning effectively?
5. Winterize your home, if you haven’t done so already.
Make sure your home has a backup generator, particularly if you have small children, elderly people or people with medical conditions living in your house.
For legal insight into what kind of compensation you might be able to obtain after a winter weather related accident, call our Washington D.C. personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation at (202) 753-4272.
If the cold does cause an injury or illness that leads to hospitalization, be sure to read this article: 10 Tips Patients Can Do to Make Your Hospital Stay Safer