Safety Tips

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter

As the temperatures get colder, make sure you know how to stay warm. Wear warm winter clothes and plenty of extra layers, and listen for radio or television reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service. Play it Safe Outdoors Unfortunately, we don’t have downy penguin coats to keep warm. When going outside, do not leave areas of the skin exposed to the cold. Learn to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it. Victims of hypothermia are often elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating, babies sleeping in cold bedrooms, and people who remain outdoors for long period. Warnings signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately. Driving in a Winter Wonderland Driving in severe winter weather can be dangerous and lead to accidents. Be sure to prepare a winter emergency kit for your car. Include blankets, a flashlight, a shovel, an ice scraper, water and snacks, and a first aid kit. Make sure your car is serviced and has a full gas tank before a storm. Consider signing up for an all-weather driving course in your area to practice winter driving skills, and know what to do if you ever become stranded in your car. Stay Warm and Save $$$ Huddling is great, but may not be enough to keep you warm when winter weather hits. Learn how to prepare your home for winter weather and save on your electricity and heating bills. Insulating walls and attics, and putting weather-strips on doors and windows keeps heat inside and maximizes warmth. Handle Heating Equipment Safely When you need to warm up, take proper precautions and review instructions before handling heating equipment and fires. Have your heating system serviced by a qualified technician every year. Make...

Read More

Fall Into Safety

Fall Into Safety

Get Your Flu Shot ​​Autumn is the start of flu season, and it’s recommended that everyone 6 months and older gets vaccinated against the flu. Learn more on flu prevention and check out these common myths about the flu vaccine. Reduce Fear this Halloween Halloween is a fun-filled time for children, but there are many dangers associated with the holiday unrelated to ghouls, goblins and witches. Parents need to take the necessary Halloween safety precautions to make sure their children remain safe while still having fun. Check out our infographic on safe costume choices to help keep kids safe on Halloween. Drive Safely as it gets Darker Daylight Saving Time ends every year on the first Sunday in November. This means it starts to get darker earlier. As we set our clocks backward by one hour in most areas of the country, here are some tips for driving at night. Green Cross Tip: When you change your clocks, it’s also a great time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.   Source: National Safety Council...

Read More

10 ways to love your health

10 ways to love your health

Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate love and can be a reminder to make healthy choices part of your everyday life. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day on your own or with someone else, take steps to be a healthy valentine. Treat yourself and loved ones to a healthy meal that includes fruits and vegetables and foods low in saturated fat and salt, and limit sweets. Nutrition plays an essential role in maintaining overall health. Plan an activity that encourages physical fitness. Regular physical activity can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, improve mental health and mood, and increase your chance of living longer. Adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity each week. If you smoke, quit smoking. Cigarette smoking it he leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for 1 of every 5 deaths. Celebrate American Heart Month. At least 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke each year are preventable. Help raise awareness about heart disease prevention and learn how to lower heart disease risk! Join Million Hearts™ Learn the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Call 9-1-1 immediately if these symptoms occur. Prevent the spread of germs by washing your hands often, getting a flu vaccine, and avoiding close contact with someone that is sick. Prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. To lower your risk, abstain from sex or if you do choose to have sex use protection. Also, show your love by engaging in healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Limit alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that can harm your health. Get health insurance at the Health Insurance Marketplace if you aren’t already covered. Enrollment ends on February 15. Don’t let Valentine’s Day plans stress you out. Learn ways to cope with stress and engage in healthy activities, including getting plenty of sleep.  ...

Read More

First Aid for Winter Injuries

First Aid for Winter Injuries

Most people who work in cold conditions are aware of their risk of frostbite and hypothermia, but they may be less aware of their risk of dehydration, overexertion, and trench foot caused by cold exposure. Here’s how workers can identify these conditions and treat them appropriately. Here are signs, symptoms, and first-aid recommendations for these cold-induced illnesses and injuries. Trench Foot Trench foot, or immersion foot, is caused when the feet are immersed in cold water at temperatures above freezing for long periods of time. It is similar to frostbite, but considered less severe. Symptoms include tingling, itching, or a burning sensation. OSHA recommends treating trench foot by: • Calling 911 immediately, if the situation appear to be an emergency; otherwise, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. • Removing the shoes, or boots, and wet socks. • Drying the feet without rubbing. Dehydration Workers may think of dehydration as a warm-weather problem, but it is also easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Those clouds workers breathe out are moisture escaping the body through the lungs. Dehydration can make workers more susceptible to other cold injuries, especially hypothermia. Some symptoms of dehydration may be more difficult to distinguish during cold weather, including dry skin and dry mouth. Workers may be thirsty, but thirst is not a reliable indicator of hydration. The best indicator to use is urine output and color: Dark yellow or amber urine, and infrequent urination, are sure signs that a worker is dehydrated. Treat dehydration by providing fluids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. In severe cases of dehydration—if the person has not urinated for more than 12 hours, and is suffering extreme fatigue, lethargy, and confusion—get emergency medical assistance. Overexertion Workers can suffer overexertion injuries in cold weather. Cold weather places additional strain on the heart and lungs, making exertion more difficult; it also stiffens tissues, making pulls, strains, and sprains more likely. Workers who have “overdone it” in the cold can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) of the pulled or strained muscle, and with over-the-counter medications. Source: Today’s Safety Daily Advisor Tip from BLR —Business & Legal...

Read More

Frostbite & Hypothermia

Frostbite & Hypothermia

Outdoor activities can be fun, but they can also be risky. The South Dakota Safety Council offers the following tips to prevent and treat a couple of the most common problems: hypothermia and frostbite.   How to dress for winter success: Think function, not fashion. The most important preventive measure when fighting the cold is how you dress. Staying dry is as important as staying warm. Dress in light layers. Long underwear made of polypropylene wicks moisture away from the body. Inner layers of wool or waffle weave synthetics provide insulation. The outer layer should be made of wind- and moisture-resistant fabrics. Wearing a hat cuts body heat loss. Cover as much skin as possible. Take extra care with fingers and toes. Wear an extra pair of socks and wear boots. Wearing mittens will keep your fingers warmer than wearing gloves.   Other preventive measures include: Eat well, at least one hot meal a day. Drink hot liquids such as broth, cider or soup. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee or tea, and alcoholic beverages, as these can make you more susceptible to the cold. Find out if any medications you are taking will make you more vulnerable to cold. Take extra precautions if they do. Use a “buddy system” to monitor physical reaction to cold when engaging in outdoor activities. Keep your home adequately heated or wear layers indoors. The elderly are more susceptible to cold-related stress. Check on those living alone.   Hypothermia   Hypothermia conjures up pictures of extreme cold. Actually, hypothermia can occur in all types of weather and can result from inadequate heating indoors. Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below the norm of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia can range from mild to severe, and infants and the elderly are more vulnerable. Watch for these stages. Hypothermia is considered mild when the body temperature is between 98 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include a chilly feeling with shivering ranging from slight to violent. The skin begins to numb and the victim loses coordination. As the core temperature decreases, mental sluggishness and slowed speech occur along with some amnesia. Between 90 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, moderate hypothermia symptoms include severe lack of coordination along with stiffness and immobility. The victim has stopped shivering and is often incoherent, confused and irrational. When the victim’s temperature drops between 86 and...

Read More

Snow shoveling safety tips

Snow shoveling safety tips

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network recommend that people keep heart health in mind and “take it easy” when clearing driveways and sidewalks. Here are some facts about shoveling: Snow shoveling is hard work. The good news is that shoveling snow for 15 minutes qualifies as a moderate physical daily activity recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General. The bad news is that for many sedentary, out-of-shape Americans, shoveling heavy, wet snow for 10 minutes is equivalent to running on a treadmill to exhaustion. The cold temperatures don’t help, raising blood pressure in people who don’t normally have a blood pressure problem and posing an even greater risk to people with high blood pressure, according to University of Florida researchers. Several easy steps can prevent illness and injuries while shoveling snow in winter. First, anyone who has one of the following conditions should probably not shovel snow without his or her physician’s permission. The list of conditions includes: A personal or family history of heart disease or asthma Already sustained a heart attack A history of back problems High blood pressure High cholesterol level A history of smoking A history of inactivity For healthy, active individuals, the Michigan Blues suggest the following guidelines: Use the right shovel. Shovels with S-shaped handles and non-stick blade surfaces will usually require less effort and minimal bending to move snow. Or, consider pulling the snow out of the way, which requires less exertion. Avoid stimulants (for example, caffeine and nicotine) that can raise your heart rate and restrict blood vessels. Avoid shoveling immediately after having eaten a large meal. Warm up and stretch muscles before shoveling, especially in the morning. Muscles are less susceptible to injury during physical activity after a warm-up. Drink plenty of fluids before and during shoveling to avoid dehydration, but not coffee (see above). Breathing cold air dehydrates the body. Dress in layers. Wear a scarf or mask and/or goggles. Inhaling cold air may constrict arteries, decreasing your heart’s oxygen supply. Start slowly to avoid a sudden load on the heart. An average snow shovelful of heavy, wet snow weighs up to 16 pounds. That means for every 10 minutes of typical shoveling, you’ll be clearing up to 2,000 pounds of white stuff. To lift snow, bend from the knees. Remove heavy snow in two stages. First, skim off the top layer, and then remove the...

Read More