Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in This Winter 2020-2021

Prepare Your Home

Staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

Winterize your home.
Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
Check your heating systems.
Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
If you do not have a working smoke detector, install one. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning emergencies.
Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check or change the battery when you change your clocks in the fall and spring.
Learn the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
Cars driving on snowy road

Get your vehicle ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

Prepare Your Vehicle
Get your vehicle ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level.
Check your tires’ tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
Keep the gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:
Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries;
Items to stay warm, such as extra hats, coats, mittens, blankets, or sleeping bags;
Food and water;
Booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
Compass and maps;
Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
First-aid kit; and
Plastic bags (for sanitation).

Move anything you need from the trunk into the passenger area. Stay with your vehicle unless safety is no more than 100 yards away.
Keep your body warm. Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets, or newspapers. Huddle with other people if you can.
Stay awake and stay moving. You will be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems. As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to improve circulation and stay warmer.
Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air. Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe—this will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Be Proactive

Before illness strikes, make sure you are doing everything possible to boost your immune system and stay healthy. This means eating lots of fruits and vegetables and other foods high in antioxidants, as well as taking vitamins or supplements. Citrus fruits are in season during the winter months which means there is no excuse not to stock up!

Another way to be prepared for cold and flu season is to assemble a few staples so you’re prepared when the sniffles start. Keep sick day items on hand, including your favorite medications, essential oils, ginger-ale, crackers, tissues and perhaps even some new movies or activity books so you’re ready to go when you get a sudden sick call or when one of the kids wakes up not feeling well.

Here are 20 ways you can create a winter wellness plan that works for you

1. Bring out the crock pot! Emphasis slow cooked, warm, moist meals this season. Soups are a perfect match for the cold, dry days.

2. We gravitate toward richer foods in the winter for good reason — we need to stay warm, lubricated and healthy. Allow yourself to indulge in high quality dairy, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, organic meats, and healthy fats — you can feel satisfied without jumping on the sugar train.

3. With the increase in heavier foods, be sure to increase spices and foods that help keep digestion lively. Many of these foods and spices have the added benefit of boosting your immune system because they are antibacterial. Try adding dark leafy greens, berries, garlic, onions, ginger, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon to your recipes whenever you can.

Cook With Mushrooms

There are several species of mushrooms that have immune-boosting health benefits. That’s because mushrooms have naturally-occurring antibiotics. This gives them medicinal properties, which helps us to fight off many types of illnesses. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to stock up on varieties like white button or shitake mushrooms and add them to your meals this winter.

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