Freezing temperatures are a strange sight for most Floridians. But temperatures this extreme aren’t just out of the ordinary. They can be downright dangerous.
Here are some quick tips for keeping your family safe during the “bomb cyclone” that’s sending a chill throughout Florida.
#1: Dress in layers
You may not have a wide variety of parkas and thermal knits in your closet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay warm. Layers are key for keeping cozy in cold temperatures.
Try wearing leggings or tights beneath your pants, and layering a sweater (or two) over top a long-sleeved shirt. Also, don’t leave home without a hat or earmuffs, gloves, thick socks (layer those, too, if you need to) and a scarf.
#2: Stay alert for carbon monoxide
With the chilly temps, you may be tempted to pull out space heaters and fire up the wood stove. But beware: risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and even death, skyrockets at times like these.
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and you can be exposed to the deadly gas for hours without feeling any symptoms. If you’re using a heater, wood stove or fireplace, use extreme caution. Only use these items if your home is properly ventilated for safe use. Also, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector to alert you to dangerous levels of the gas. Never use electric generators or gas or charcoal grills inside.
#3: Eat well, drink warm
Nutrients from well-balanced meals help insulate our bodies against cold weather. Be sure you’re eating plenty of veggies and protein. Warm soups, chilis and antioxidant-rich superfoods like sweet potatoes are great options.
And now’s the time to load up on hot tea or other hot beverages, which will warm you from the inside.
#4: Avoid alcohol
Drinking alcohol causes your body to lose heat more rapidly, which can put you in danger when temperatures drop.
#5: Check on friends and neighbors
Call or text any friends, family members or neighbors who may be vulnerable to cold temperatures, including the elderly, children and ill or disabled persons. If you haven’t heard back, drop by to check in on them (or contact someone who can).
#6: Protect your pets (and watch for wild animals)
Chilly temperatures are especially dangerous for pets. If you have outdoor or indoor-outdoor pets, bring them inside during the cold snap. Also, abnormally cold temperatures can displace feral animals, like cats, raccoons and bats – all of which are prone to rabies. Avoid coming in contact with wild animals, and call Animal Control if you feel you or your neighborhood are in danger.
#7: When possible, stay inside!
If you don’t absolutely have to brave the elements – don’t. As long as you’ve got all the supplies you need, make it a staycation until the cold passes