With the USA having its coldest temperatures for years and it being so widespread, it’s important you know the ways to cope with extreme cold weather. We’re having ridiculous floods and storms in the UK currently, but our temperatures haven’t plummeted the way those in the US have, and rest assured your British cousins – who are somewhat preoccupied with the weather all the time – are fully sympathetic! It’s important to stay safe and healthy especially because really low temperatures bring risks. Please look after yourselves and follow these ways to cope with extreme cold weather.
If you have to go outside, you must dress warmly. Even if you are only making a short journey, be sure to dress in lots of layers. Layers work better than one really thick item because air is trapped between the layers, keeping you warm. After all, you can also remove layers at your destination. Another of the ways to cope with extreme cold weather in terms of dressing is to look after your extremities and exposed areas. Hats, scarves, gloves and appropriate footwear are all a must. Before you leave your house, ask yourself this question: If I have to hang around, say for a delay in transport, or my car gets caught in the snow, would I stay warm? If the answer is no, you aren’t dressed appropriately. Another thing to consider is removing your earrings and any facial jewelry. Metal will freeze much more quickly than skin.
Don’t make your body work harder in extreme cold weather by not providing it with enough fuel. There are reasons why we eat more “rib-sticking” food in winter. When outside temperatures are hitting zero, you need to be circumspect in how your body gets its energy. If you are dieting, this might be one of the times to step off the wagon for a few days and get back on it when the extreme cold front passes. I know it might sound obvious but regulating your body temp inside is just as important as dressing for the cold and regulating your house temperature. Drink hot beverages instead of cold sodas and eat filling, nutritional food. Don’t overdo the caffeine and avoid alcohol – both cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. If you’re stuck home, now is a great time to make your own soups and casseroles.
Gawd, we know that energy costs are ridiculous and our bills are already sky high, but one of the ways to cope with extreme weather is to not sacrifice your household heating. If costs are a significant issue, there are things you can do to stay toasty and not send the electricity meter spinning like the Hadron Collider. Close the doors to any rooms you aren’t using. Stick to as few rooms as possible and heat them well. Turn the thermostat up by a couple of degrees. And also, dress warmly – wear socks and/or slippers if you don’t usually. Now is a great time to share body warmth with your partner, or get cuddly under a snuggly blanket or throw.
Even the most well heated homes can suffer issues in extreme cold temperatures. If you are concerned about pipes freezing, turn one of the main taps (like the kitchen sink) so that it drips the tiniest bit. Water that is flowing is less likely to freeze. Another problem might be your path/driveway covered in snow. If you are going to clear it, make sure you do a thorough job. Leaving surface snow has the potential to freeze over, turning the surface into an ice rink. (Sometimes it’s best to leave a few inches of snow as is, as it is easier to walk in than on a slippery, icy path.) If you haven’t got a supply of rock salt, did you know you can use soda crystals, household salt (you need a fair bit though) and even dishwasher salt instead?
There might be 2 feet of snow outside and a wind chill factor making temperatures register at -40 degrees, but the world still turns and you may still have to go to work and take the kids to school. One of the most sensible ways of coping with extreme cold weather is not going out, but for some it’s not an option. If you do need to make any journey, choose the most sensible way of traveling to your destination. Check the local weather and traffic reports and local public transport bulletins. As well as dressing according to the advice in the first point, make sure you are prepared for delays and breakdowns. If you’re driving on snow, fit snow chains. Have enough fuel in the car and pack a blanket or sleeping bag, some snacks and drinks. Naturally, make sure your phone is fully charged. If there’s even the remotest chance you might get caught in snow think about packing a torch and a book. At least you’ll be able to keep yourself occupied if you have to wait for a tow truck! It’s also a good idea to let someone know of your journey.
If you are a pet owner, you need to consider their well being at this time too. Any outdoor pets should be brought inside but don’t put them in an overly warm room. Indoor pets might benefit from an extra blanket in their bed – especially at night if you turn the heating off. Make sure they too are well fed and watered and let them outside to do their business for short periods only.
7. The Elderly
Older bodies are harder to keep warm and the elderly particularly suffer during the extreme cold. If you have an elderly neighbor or a senior member of the family, please check on them. Make sure they are keeping warm and eating and drinking. Also, look out for any other vulnerable members of your community. If you are venturing out to get supplies, a lovely gesture would be to ask if they need anything, and if you’re clearing your drive/path, I’m sure they’d greatly appreciate a hand with theirs.
I hope you apply some of these ways to cope with extreme cold weather and stay safe and warm. There’s always spring to look forward to! How are you dealing with the weather in the meantime?