Less than a week removed from 60-degree weather, O'Fallon is expected to receive the coldest temperatures yet this year ovenight.
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors. Try not to speak unless absolutely necessary.Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly. Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
- If you do not have heat in your residence temporarily close off some rooms and remain in one area of the residence. Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects. Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol. If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
Meanwhile, an O'Fallon Patch blogger, offers some of these tips to keeping pets safe during winter weather.
- “Be careful as to the type of salt you use on your driveway, pathways, patio for ice,” Shuma Chaudhuri, a volunteer at All Paws Animal Rescue in O'Fallon said. “Traditional ice is harmful to pets. You can buy specially formulated pet-safe de-icers. While they seem more expensive, it will save you in the long run in avoiding expensive veterinary bills for the damage to their paws.” Additionally, she stresses the importance of cleaning up spills on the garage floor, such as anti-freeze., as anti-freeze is poisonous for pets.
- Remember, harsh winter weather can be dangerous to you pets. “When the temperatures drop low, bring your pets indoors,” Chaudhri said. “If you absolutely must keep your pets outdoors, make sure they have the appropriate shelter (enclosed), hay or straw to keep warm, available water that is not frozen, higher protein kibble.”
- She also states that if you walk your pet at a local park that has a pond or lake, keep your pet on the leash. Even if the water looks frozen, it may not be. “A pet running loose may run onto the ice, and the ice will break, and boom....there goes your pet into the frozen icy water, leading to hypothermia and other injuries.”
- A pet’s coat is its best defense against the brutal Missouri winter temperatures. “Make sure to brush your pets daily,” said Hillary Myers, pet stylist from the O’Fallon PetSmart. “If they are not properly groomed, the hair could become matted and will have to be shaved at sixteenth of an inch.” Without the insulation of their winter coats, pets will be more susceptible to illness and the harsh winter temperatures. Chaudhuri also suggests refraining from grooming dogs to short hair.