Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Keeping safe this winter

With snow on the horizon in the middle of January we are all going to need to wrap up warm, enjoy the snowball fights and stay safe.  My 4 year old is looking forward to her first proper snowball fight while I am anticipating a long, cold walk to deliver some health promotion

In this inclement weather there are a couple of things to think about:

Hypothermia: this is a risk for anyone experiencing over exposure in the cold.  It is even more of a risk to small children, babies or elderly relatives.  In order to avoid hypothermia, make sure they are wearing plenty of layers including a hat and avoid over exposure or long periods in the cold, limit the length of their snowball fights / snowman creating.  

Hypothermia is caused by a low body temperature and small children are unable to regulate their own body temperature which increases their chances of developing this.  

If your child starts to feel cold to the touch or look pale, displays constant shivering, tiredness and low energy these can all be a sign of mild hypothermia.  It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect hypothermia, but while you are waiting for help to arrive, make sure they are warmed up gradually.  
Remove any wet clothing, 
Place them in a warm area, 
Encourage them to take some warm drinks.  

DON'T put them directly in a bath or try to warm them up too quickly. 

For further hints and tips on managing hypothermia check out NHS choices


Snowball fights and tobogganing are always great fun, and I can't wait to introduce my daughter to them.  Cold weather and snow and ice means slippery pavements and roads which can cause falls and in some cases broken limbs.  If you can avoid walking on the streets this would be beneficial to reduce risk but if the worst happens, how would you recognise or manage a fracture?

Pain to the limb in question
Loss of Power or inability to use the limb
Unusual movement or position 
Swelling and bruising around the area
Deformity and in some cases the bone may break through the skin

You may also hear a bone snap as you fall and you may also feel a bit dizzy or faint if you go into shock

If you do suspect a fracture, it is important to seek medical advice either from a minor injuries unit or emergency department and try not to move the affected limb more than is necessary.  Avoid eating and drinking incase surgery is required. 

The winter can be a season of great fun, log fires and hot chocolate and can be enjoyed by all if you wrap up warm 

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