Stay Safe and Healthy Through The Winter Season

Stay Safe and Healthy Through The Winter Season

By / State News / Tuesday, 03 January 2017 05:00

RALEIGH, N.C. - State health officials encourage North Carolinians to take health and safety precautions during the winter months. “North Carolina weather patterns may fluctuate and we can experience mild temperatures and also very cold temperatures,” said Public Health Preparedness and Response Director Julie Casani, MD. “Basic prevention measures and knowledge of local resources can help during the cold months.”

Carbon Monoxide Safety
In 2015, one person died from unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning in North Carolina. More than 218 people required emergency department care. To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning:
• Never use a gas-powered generator or other fuel-burning appliances indoors or in your garage.
• Install a carbon monoxide alarm with an Underwriters Laboratory UL™ listing on each level of your home and near all sleeping areas. Carefully follow the directions to ensure proper alarm placement and check the batteries regularly.
•  Replace alarms more than seven years old or when end-of-service indicator chirps.
• If your CO alarm sounds, evacuate your home and call 9-1-1.
Food Safety Without Power – When In Doubt, Throw It Out!
 When power is lost, all refrigerated and frozen food should be evaluated before it is used or refrozen. You cannot always see or smell the bacteria that can make you sick. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers the following food safety information for anticipated power outages:
• Frozen, partially-thawed food is safe to cook or refreeze if it still contains ice crystals or has not risen above 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep refrigerated foods at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit and frozen food at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.

Flu Season
In the 2015-16 flu season, there were 59 flu-associated deaths.
This is a reminder that flu can be a serious illness, especially for adults older than 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
 DHHS encourages vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older, and the following precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses during the winter months:
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends  that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap  and water are not available, use an alcohol-based  hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
Flu-like symptoms
include:
• fever
• cough
• sore throat
• runny or stuffy nose
• body aches
• headache
• chills
• fatigue
Some people also may have   vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu,  and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and  most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
• While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
• Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
• Everyone 6 months of age and older should get  a flu vaccine as soon as this season’s vaccines are available.
• Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
• People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma,  diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
• Vaccination also is important for health care workers,  and other people who live with or care for high risk  people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
• Children younger than 6 months are at high risk  of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
​For more information on flu and to learn where you can receive a flu vaccination in your community, visit http://flu.nc.gov

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program  
For many of North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens, meeting the expense of household heating during the cold of winter may be a challenge.
County Social Services Departments are accepting applications for the state's Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), which provides federal payment assistance for one month of heating to those who qualify. Last year, LIEAP provided heating assistance to more than 141,000 households across North Carolina.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply, contact information for your local social services is available using the interactive map at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss/local-county-social-services-offices
For more information on how to prepare for winter related events download the free ReadyNC app, or visit www.readync.org for real-time traffic and weather conditions, open shelters and items needed in emergency supply kits.
Source: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Author

Super User

Super User

Carolina Beach North Carolina

Showers
56°F
S at 7 mph /93%
Tuesday
50°F / 63°F
Wednesday
42°F / 55°F
Thursday
41°F / 54°F

 

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