Even though winter is a little ways away (with the season arriving on December 21st, 2020), it’s never a bad idea to start early preparations for your health, home, and other areas – especially now that the weather has already cooled down quite significantly, as well as the fact that parts of British Columbia (and even other parts of Canada) are already getting a premature taste of winter weather. In fact, snow has already even been forecast for many areas – and this was something we were warned to prepare for as far back as September, with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Centre officially issuing a La Niña advisory. La Niña is when there is the appearance of cooler than normal waters (also known as a “cold event”) in the Eastern and Pacific Ocean, including the waters off our coast right here in British Columbia. While an early blast of winter might come as a shock to many British Columbians, it’s also a good reminder that there are some things we can do to better prepare so we are better equipped to deal with winter when it really does hit.
If you are going to be spending time outdoors – whether you work in a job that requires you to spend a significant amount of time outside (i.e. construction), are traveling both to and from work by foot (for example, going to catch a bus or SkyTrain), or for any other reason, then it’s important to wear weather-appropriate clothing, such as:
• Proper footwear (snow boots with good traction)
• Winter jacket (one that is waterproof/repels wind and water)
• Layered clothing
If you’re going to be driving in wintery conditions, it’s also a good reminder to winterize your vehicle as soon as possible. This means getting its regular maintenance (oil chance, etc.) – and, of course, getting your winter tires put on so that your car is well-equipped to deal with snowy, icy conditions on the road.
In terms of your health, we see a lot more colds and flus during the fall and winter months. With COVID-19 also occurring at the same time, now is a good idea to get your flu shot in advance. Anyone aged 6 months and above is recommended to get the flu vaccine, and this can be booked through your doctor’s office or pharmacy. If you’re unsure as to where you can get vaccinated or simply want more information on the flu vaccine, simply visit ImmunizeBC.ca. If you do develop a cold or the flu, it’s always important to stat home when you’re sick – especially while COVID-19 is still in your province, as its symptoms can also mimic the common cold and influenza. By staying home when you’re sick, you prevent viruses from spreading to others. If you suspect you have COVID-19, it’s suggested that you be tested for it – even if your symptoms are mild.
It’s also a good idea to prepare your home for winter – inside and out. For example, sidewalk salt can be a good way to melt snow and ice from pathways. In addition to salt, you should also always shovel snow from frequently walked areas such as sidewalks, pathways, and staircases. Because getting snowed in from a blizzard or days-long snowfall is also possible, it’s important to stock up on healthy, non-perishable food items, such as canned and/or dried fruits and vegetables, beans, nut butters, nuts and seeds, grains, as well as bottled water.