Fall Weather Ush­ers In Health Risks

McDonald County Press - - NEWS -

As the tem­per­a­tures drop, bring­ing cold nights and cool days, fall also ush­ers in health risks, es­pe­cially for se­nior adults. The McDon­ald County Health Depart­ment urges res­i­dents to pro­tect fam­ily and friends with a few sim­ple steps this fall.

Boost the im­mune sys­tem. As peo­ple spend more time in­doors and in crowded places like shop­ping cen­ters and hol­i­day events, germs that cause colds and flu are more eas­ily spread.

Ev­ery­one over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year to pro­tect against sea­sonal flu. Se­niors over 65 should also get a shot to pro­tect against pneu­mo­nia.

Ev­ery­one should also wash their hands fre­quently with soap and wa­ter and keep a dis­tance of at least 6 feet from peo­ple who are sick.

Pro­tect the heart. Cold weather con­stricts or tight­ens up blood ves­sels, which can in­crease the risk of heart at­tack.

To keep your blood ves­sels relaxed, dress warmly when you go out­side. Wear a hat, gloves and a warm coat. If you rake leaves, pace your­self and take fre­quent breaks so you don’t stress your heart.

Stay warm. Even though tem­per­a­tures aren’t below freezing yet, stay­ing out too long in the weather can cause the body’s tem­per­a­ture to drop too low, lead­ing to hy­pother­mia. Se­nior adults and young ba­bies are at high­est risk.

To pro­tect against hy­pother­mia, dress in sev­eral lay­ers of warm cloth­ing and add or re­move lay­ers as needed. Pro­tect your fam­ily and neigh­bors by watch­ing for signs of hy­pother­mia.

Hy­pother­mia af­fects the brain, mak­ing it hard for a per­son to think clearly or move well. They may not even re­al­ize they are in dan­ger. Adults may ex­pe­ri­ence shiv­er­ing, ex­haus­tion, con­fu­sion, fum­bling hands, mem­ory loss, slurred speech or drowsi­ness. In­fants may have lit­tle en­ergy or get bright red, cold skin.

Hy­pother­mia is a medical emer­gency so, if you sus­pect some­one is in dan­ger, call 9-1-1 im­me­di­ately and move the per­son to a warm place.

A few sim­ple pre­cau­tions can help en­sure ev­ery­one en­joys fall’s cooler weather and fun tra­di­tions.

Pub­lic health — work­ing ev­ery day for health­ier fam­i­lies, health­ier com­mu­ni­ties, health­ier you! Learn more by call­ing 417-223-7122 or by vis­it­ing www.mc­don­ald­coun­ty­health.com.

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