December 9, 2018

Safety First – 5 Tips to a Fun + Safe Winter Wonderland in WNC

Bundle up for winter weather in western North Carolina.

By the looks outside of our window… winter weather is here! We hope you’re enjoying a snow day (or two!) with friends, family or your little ones. Whether you’re sledding, shoveling or building your first snowman of the season, ensure you and your loved ones are safe with these winter weather outdoor safety tips.

1. Bundle up.

Enjoy the snow but make any trips outside as brief as possible. When going outside, dress appropriately: hat, scarf (to cover your face and mouth), mittens (they’re warmer than gloves), several layers of loose-fitting clothing and water-resistant coat and boots.

2. Pay attention to freezing temperatures and know the warning signs. 

Hypothermia occurs when you have an abnormally low body temperature. Warning signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Frostbite is an injury to your body caused by freezing. It causes loss of feeling and color in affected areas — most often on the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. If you notice these signs, get into a warm room and remove wet, cold clothing.

3. Shovel with care. 

While it may sound silly, shoveling can be a workout! Stretch and warm up before going outside and directly into shoveling movements. Avoid over exertion when shoveling snow or performing other chores in the cold. Dress warmly, work slowly and take a break if you feel tired – your body is already working hard to keep warm, so don’t overdo it! Be careful if shoveling heavier, or icier, snow – more powder-like snow is lighter. Take care of your back by not overfilling your shovel, and bend at the hips and knees.

4. Avoid ice. 

Walking on ice is extremely dangerous. Serious injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways and porches. Watch out for “black ice” or thin sheets of transparent ice. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound (sand may also help to reduce the risk of slipping).

5. Heads up.

Stay clear from edges of buildings and be aware of overhead hazards, such as falling icicles and chunks of snow. Their size and dagger-like formation can be extremely dangerous. Stay clear from the edges of buildings.

If you have concerns about your safety, health or well-being related to winter weather, know your options for care.

Happy snow day, neighbors! Be well.

Follow Mission Health on Facebook and Twitter at @MissionHealthNC for the latest updates on the winter storm and its impact in western North Carolina. Visit for clinic/practice updates.