Winter Weather Safety

By WEEK Reporter

Winter Weather Safety

January 3, 2012 Updated Jan 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-- Though Central Illinois has seen a fairly mild winter so far, it does not rule out the possibility of a dangerous snow storm in the future.

Several local organizations are encouraging residents to be prepared for potential severe winter weather.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says contracting illnesses like the common cold, influenza, hypothermia, and frostbite is more prevalent during these winter months. Additionally, occurrences of seasonal affective disorder and heart attacks also increase.

Because of this, the IDPH suggests wearing numerous dry layers, keeping feet and hands warm as often as possible and performing 60 minutes of aerobic exercise.

When temperatures plunge below zero degrees, the IDPH says it is important for young children and the elderly especially to stay indoors near a heat source.

The American Red Cross advises motorists think about packing a disaster kit in their vehicle. The kit should include items like blankets, dry clothes, socks, mittens, dried food, water, a small shovel, jumper cables, flashlights, first aid kits, among other items.

If your vehicle ever gets stuck in the snow, the Red Cross suggests tying a bright colored cloth to the car's antenna and wait for rescuers to arrive.

Also, start the car for 10 minutes every hour and keep a window slightly open to allow for air flow.

More information on winter safety can be obtained by contacting OSF St. Joseph Medical Center at (309) 662-3311 or by visiting www.osfstjoseph.org.

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