MA Medical Society, Doctors Offer Advice on Winter Survival
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
GoLocalWorcester News Team
With the winter season here, the Massachusetts Medical Society and two Massachusetts doctors, Susan Moynihan, MD, and Shreekant Vasudhey, MD, released ten tips to get through the winter.
The tips emphasize checking in on elderly neighbors and family members.
The tips are as follows:
Check in on each other. Taking care of one another starts with checking regularly on elderly neighbors during the winter months, especially before, during, and after storms in which a power outage has occurred.
Get vaccinated. Winter can exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions. Those conditions, including heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, influenza, and even the common cold, can lead to serious health consequences. One of the most important things you can do to protect your health in the winter is to get a flu vaccination. You may also want to talk with your physician about a pneumonia vaccination.
Always carry your cell phone. The outdoor elements can be a significant source of danger. Take precautions with every outdoor activity, from shoveling snow to simply walking to the mailbox. Call for help if needed. You can get additional protection from a commercial medical-alert system, which you can wear and activate to signal for help in an emergency.
Shovel slowly, or ask for help with shoveling. A sudden increase in physical activity — especially in the cold — can aggravate conditions like heart failure, asthma, and COPD. If you’re sick or have physical limitations, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or neighbor for help with shoveling snow.
If you fall, call for help immediately. Walking on snow or ice comes with the risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Falls can be potentially life-threatening, especially if you have osteoporosis. Getting help quickly greatly increases the chances of you making a satisfactory recovery from any injuries.
Wear boot grips or cleats. A couple of precautions can reduce your risk of slipping and falling. Over-the-sole slip-on cleats can improve traction on slippery surfaces. Fit them onto your snow boots at the start of the season and keep your boots by a chair near the door.
Stay physically active. A regular fitness routine can help, too. Regular, moderate physical activity can help maintain your muscle strength, which will subsequently improve balance and your ability to catch yourself if you start to slip.
Check out home heating resources. Be thoughtful too about your safety at home. If your home isn’t adequately heated, there’s a risk of hypothermia. Winter heating can be costly; if you’re concerned, it is critically important that you know about helpful resources. Check with your local Council on Aging or senior center for information on free or reduced heating fuel for seniors.
Eat well. Proper nutrition through the winter is also important. It may be harder to get to the store, especially if you live alone, and living on canned foods isn’t a great fix (for example, they’re high in sodium). Most communities or regions have programs that can help seniors tap into nutrition-based services like meal delivery and transportation to local grocery stores. Again, check with your local Council on Aging or senior center.
Watch our show. For more on winter safety for the elderly, go online to watch Physician Focus, the public access TV show produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society and HCAM-TV. Visit massmedical.org and go to “News and Publications” to watch Winter is Coming, the current episode, featuring more winter survival strategies.
484 Main St., Worcester
United Way of Central Massachusetts helps many local organizations gain funding to help community efforts.
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Photo: United Way of Central Massachusetts
125 Providence Street, Worcester
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81 Plantation Street, Worcester
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65 Tainter Street, Worcester
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10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA
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Photo: The Jimmy Fund
100 Front St., Worcester, MA
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85 Green St, Worcester, MA
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Volunteer to help with their educational outreach or donate to support their cause.
160 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA
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6 Institute Road, Worcester, MA
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484 Main St., Worcester, MA
Become a mentor for an at-risk child in your community through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts/ Metrowest.
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21 Ceder Street, Worcester
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474 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury
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670 Old Connecticut Path, Framingham, MA
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10 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA
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PO Box 448, Northborough, MA
Pet Chance allows you to fund medical services for animals in shelters who need care.
Families who cannot afford medical services for their pets can also apply for funding on the site.
Help someone's furry friend heal this holiday.
8 Forge Pkwy, Franklin, MA
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415 Main St., Worcester, MA
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To donate or volunteer for one of thermally training programs visit their site.
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67 Lincoln St, Worcester, MA
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9 Irving Street, Worcester, MA 01609
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2000 Century Dr., Worcester, MA
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StandUp For Kids offers volunteer opportunities every second Monday of the month.
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Intern, or donate online when you do your personal shopping on Amazon, overtime you shop Advocates receives a percentage of your total purchase - making it easy to give and receive.
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Tutor a student or participate in Auburn Youth and Family Services’ Holiday Giving Program.
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Four locations throughout the region
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Central Community Branch
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