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With below-freezing temperaturesforecasted through Tuesday, the Westchester County Department of Health remindsresidents to take precautions against hypothermia and frostbite and to takecare when heating their homes using alternate heating sources.
Seniors and infants less than oneyear of age should never sleep in a cold room and should be dressed in warmclothing to prevent the loss of body heat. If a safe temperature cannot be maintainedinside your home, make temporary arrangements to stay elsewhere.
The Hugh Doyle Senior Center is open weekdays from 8:30AM to 4:30 PM for seniors needing a place to warm up. The New Rochelle Public Library is also open this week. Additionally, shelters run by the Department of Social Services are open around the clockthis week. For emergency shelter, call 995-3333 weekdays. After 4 p.m. and onweekends, call 995-2099. Libraries, municipal buildings and malls are also goodplaces to warm up.
“Low temperatures can be life-threatening,especially for seniors, infants and people who are at increased risk for hypothermia,”said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, wear a coat,hat, gloves and lots of layers and limit your time outside.”
Warning signs of hypothermia inadults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion andslurred speech. Infants with hypothermia may appear sluggish, with very lowenergy and bright red, cold skin.
Frostbite is especially dangerousbecause it often occurs with little warning. At the first sign of redness orpain, get out of the cold or protect the exposed area. Fingertips, toes, theears or nose can become numb so quickly that he or she is unaware of beingfrostbitten, and may remain outside, increasing the chance of permanent damage.People with poor blood circulation, including seniors and those with diabetesare especially vulnerable to frostbite.
Tipsto prevent frostbite and hypothermia:-Dressin several layers of windproof clothes to trap body heat.
-Goindoors when you begin to feel cold. -If you think someone is sufferingfrom hypothermia or frostbite, call a medical provider immediately.
Never use a generator inside yourhouse or in partly enclosed areas, such as garages, basements, porches,crawlspaces, sheds, carports or breezeways, even if your windows are open. Generatorsshould only be operatedoutside, away from open windows. Carbon monoxide in the generator's fumes canbuild up and cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. Barbeque grills and campstoves produce carbon monoxide and should only be used outdoors.
The Health Department also remindsresidents to take the following precautions when using alternate heatingsources at home:
-Be sure that fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas indoor-Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using space heaters and wood burning stoves.-Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.-Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use - don’t substitute.-Do not place a space heater within three feet of anything that may catch on fire,such as drapes, furniture, or bedding, and never cover your space heater. -Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.-Never leave children or pets unattended near a space heater, fireplace or wood burning stove.