By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Whether the winter weather forecast for the United States will make you smile depends a lot on where you live and which forecast you read.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac opines that most of the United States will get a reprieve from harsh winter weather, with recent warming trends dominating the eastern and northern parts of the country. Uncommonly chilly temperatures will primarily hit the western states and New England.
A different winter weather pattern is forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA predicts cooler and wetter weather for the northern tier of the country and warmer and drier conditions for the southern tier. Southern Alaska, the northern parts of the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains are more likely to experience below normal temperatures.
And then you have The Weather Channel. With the expectation that La Nina weather patterns will continue through the winter months, The Weather Channel forecasts a warm November, cold December and warmer January and February.
With December and the start of meteorological winter only a couple of weeks away, please remember that cold weather can cause hypothermia and older adults are especially vulnerable. According to the National Institute on Aging, older adults have a diminished ability to endure long period of exposure to cold temperatures. They often make less body heat because their metabolisms are slower and because they tend to be less physically active. Some medications, including over-the-counter cold remedies, and certain diseases such as diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis can make it harder for your body to stay warm.
Some older adults can even develop hypothermia after relatively mild cold weather or a small drop in temperature.
With hypothermia, your body temperature drops to dangerously low levels. Among older adults, significant health problems can occur when body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Hypothermia can cause a heart attack, problems with your kidneys, and damage to your liver. It can cost you your life.
Based on information from the National Institute on Aging and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some things you can do:
10 Steps You Can Take
Signs of Hypothermia
If you think someone has the signs of hypothermia, call 911 and get medical attention immediately.
Until medical help arrives, get the person into a warm room or shelter, if possible. Wrap the person in a blanket. Do not rub the person’s arm or legs; do not use a heating pad; and do not try to warm the person in a bath.