The Lower Mainland is bracing for significant snowfall that is expected to bring up to 30 cm of snow this weekend. While snow can be a beautiful sight, it can also pose health risks to individuals who are not adequately prepared for the cold and damp weather conditions that come along with it. In this article, we will explore how the expected snowfall can impact people’s health and what precautions they can take to protect themselves.
Snow and its impact on health
Snow can have several impacts on an individual’s health, particularly if they are not prepared for the weather conditions. The following are some of the potential health risks associated with snowfall:
Hypothermia: Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when an individual’s body temperature drops below the normal range due to prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, and drowsiness. Hypothermia can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
Frostbite: Frostbite occurs when skin and the underlying tissues freeze due to exposure to extreme cold. It typically affects the fingers, toes, nose, and ears, and can result in permanent damage to the affected areas.
Respiratory problems: Cold and damp weather can exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. This is because the cold air can cause airways to constrict, making it harder to breathe.
Slips and falls: Snow and ice can make walking on sidewalks and roads slippery and hazardous. This can result in slips, falls, and injuries.
Precautions to protect yourself
To protect yourself from the potential health risks associated with snow, it is essential to take the following precautions:
Dress appropriately: Dress in layers to stay warm and dry. Wear a waterproof and insulated jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks. If you’re going to be outside for an extended period, wear insulated boots.
Keep your home warm: If you’re staying indoors, keep your home warm to avoid getting cold. Set your thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for you.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to prevent dehydration, even in cold weather.
Avoid overexertion: Shoveling snow or engaging in other physical activities in the cold can put a strain on your heart. Take breaks often and avoid overexerting yourself.
Use caution when walking: Be cautious when walking on slippery sidewalks and roads. Wear shoes with good traction, and take small steps to maintain your balance.
Prepare for power outages: Heavy snowfall can result in power outages. Have a backup source of heat (such as plenty of blankets) in case of an outage.