Keeping Warm in the Winter Months
One of my elementary school teachers used to say, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices!” whenever we complained about being cold outside. Back then, I never thought about correcting Mrs. Roberts. But now that I’m older, I realize we need more than just good clothing choices during the cold winter season. This article offers simple tips to make this winter a little cozier and warmer.
Understand the Risk of Hypothermia
Aging adults are more sensitive to cold temperatures than younger adults due to thinner skin and a lower metabolic rate. According to the CDC, aging adults whose body temperatures fall below 95°F are at higher risk for heart disease and kidney or liver damage.
During the winter, you may need to leave your warm home to run errands or walk your pet. When you do, take on-the-go protection such as the Mini Guardian or another Medical Guardian Medical Alert system, and be sure to bundle up. That way, if you feel unwell or slip and fall on ice, you can get help right away with the push of a button.
There’s actually a system for bundling up. Wearing multiple layers outside can keep you warm, comfortable, and safe. Aim for three layers: a base, middle, and outer. A base layer will keep your skin dry, a middle layer will help you retain body heat, and an outer layer will protect you from wind and snow. If the temperature warms up or you go indoors, you can remove layers as needed to stay comfortable.
Look for base layers made with moisture-wicking fabrics and technology, as this is essential to keeping your skin dry and reducing your risk for hypothermia. You can find these types of layers in hiking and camping sections of certain stores, such as REI. One popular type of base layer is Merino wool. If wool does not agree with your skin, there are a synthetic materials that help to keep your skin dry.
Concerned about buying one-season clothing? No need. A bonus to having moisture-wicking clothing is that you can also wear it during the summer to cool your skin.
Stay inside and comfortable
In the winter, coming home to a warm house and snuggling up to a warm fireplace tucked under a blanket is a wonderful way to keep warm, but not all of us have that picture-perfect setup. Many houses are cold, lack insulation, or are older and don’t have modern technology that hold the warmth. The NIH has the following suggestions for staying warm inside:
Keep an eye on your thermostat, keeping it between 68 and 70
Close off rooms you’re not using and close heating vents in those rooms
Check your windows to ensure there are no gaps in weather stripping
Dress in layers in your home
Wearing a hat inside may seem silly, but it helps you retain body heat
Don’t forget to eat.
Keep Out the Chill
Brisk, cold winter air can seep through your windows at night, especially if they are single-paned or poorly insulated. To combat this problem, consider hanging up thermal curtains, or blackout curtains, that are designed to keep warm air inside while blocking cold air from the outside. Then, during daytime hours, open your curtains to let in the sun, which can heat your home substantially.
Rearrange Your Furniture
Move your furniture around as needed to make your home cozier and warmer and to reduce the number of drafty spots. For example, if your favorite chair is next to a cold window, move it closer to the fireplace or radiator. At the same time, ensure your radiator or heating vents aren’t blocked or covered by furniture, which can prevent warm air from circulating throughout the room.
If your furniture is too heavy, ask for help from a friend or family member who can help you rearrange things.
Wear Fleece Slippers
Keeping your feet warm can also help the rest of your body stay warm. Get a pair of warm fleece slippers you can wear over your socks or bare feet to keep them warm all winter. Make sure you find a pair with rubber soles or non-skid bottoms that prevents you from skidding or slipping on bare flooring.
Know When to See Your Healthcare Provider
If you continue to feel cold despite dressing warmly and winter-proofing your home, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Being cold all the time could be a sign of a condition such as anemia, hypothyroidism, or diabetes. Your provider can talk to you in greater detail about your symptoms and help you find relief from the constant chill.
At Medical Guardian, we understand the importance of staying warm in the colder months regarding your health and well-being. Our top-rated Medical Guardian Medical Alert systems can provide several benefits to keep you well and protected, whether tucked under a warm blanket in your home or visiting loved ones for the holiday. Contact us today at (800) 668-9200 to learn more.