As the cold weather approaches, there are some risks we all need to be aware of. To enjoy the holidays to the fullest, we need to be a little extra mindful about a few things. Be prepared for the winter season with the following recommendations:
Driving on slick roads is hazardous. Utah sees the highest number of crashes on average between the months of October and December, but December is notably the highest. Stay safe by slowing down and being patient while in traffic. Check your tires and ensure you have plenty of tread for the entire season. Drive without distractions (put away that phone) and be sure to pay extra attention to the shoulders and emergency lanes. Only pass other drivers with precaution and when it’s safe, and never pass snowplows on the freeways. It’s also a good idea to always keep your vehicle’s gas above a quarter tank and to have an emergency kit with blankets, food, first aid, and road assistance items in your vehicle.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite and hypothermia need immediate treatment. Mild frostbite can be treated on the spot or at home with proper first-aid care. Quickly warm the skin in warm water for about 20 minutes, and you can offer oral pain medications if the rewarming is painful. Protect any damaged areas by lightly wrapping them with gauze. If it’s extensive or severe, you should take the person to the emergency room.
If you suspect someone has hypothermia, treat them quickly but very gently. If the hypothermia is extreme or they’re in shock, call on emergency services. While you’re waiting for medical care to arrive of if it’s mild, carefully move them out of the cold, remove any wet clothing, cover them with blankets, and monitor their breathing. If you have a warm drink, try to get them to take a little.
Holiday Safety Concerns
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there is a lot that goes on. From parties to traveling to ski vacations, risks are all over. You also have mental health to consider. The holidays can be hard for people who have family or friends all around and for those that are alone. Come up with a list of supportive and healthy practices to ensure you have a positive holiday, whatever that looks like for you.
When it comes to travel, allow for extra time, and be prepared for delays. Don’t drink and drive, no matter how important it is to get to the next party or event—this is never worth the risk. One hazard people may not think about with the holidays is decorating. You may be surprised to hear that well over 12,000 people get injured each year in the US putting up Christmas decorations. Ladders, attics, fireplaces, and live trees can be recipes for disaster if we’re not being mindful. Watch those fires and candles, don’t put up lights in the freezing cold on icy ground, and make sure your live tree is well watered so it doesn’t become a fire hazard.
Check out our next blog for other winter safety recommendations.