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IMG_1153We have had a relatively mild winter so far, but it looks like we are going to be experiencing some cold, snowy weather for the next couple of weeks. As we try to keep our homes warm, we also need to think about keeping our families safe.

One thing we should be especially aware of is the danger from carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.

The Mayo Clinic shares this list of symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. Unborn babies, young children and older adults may be particularly affected by CO. People may have irreversible brain damage or even be killed before anyone realizes there’s a problem. If you suspect a problem with CO, open windows, get outside if possible and call 911 for emergency assistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some information and guidance for us:

Every winter when the temperature drops, your furnace can become a silent killer. Gas- and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an invisible, odorless,

poison gas that kills hundreds every year and makes thousands more sick. Follow these steps to keep your family safe this winter.

Gas or Oil Burning Furnace

– Have your furnace inspected every year.

CO DETECTORS

– Install battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.

– Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds us that  CO is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The sites listed here are great resources of additional information about CO and how we can avoid problems in our homes and keep our self  and our families safe and warm!

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County.

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/co/pdfs/furnace.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/basics/symptoms/con-20025444

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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Oak Trees In the Snow at Dawn

We have all been shivering through the latest spell of nasty cold weather that is impacting much of the country. While temperatures may be rising a bit – anything over 20 seems balmy right now – we know that cold weather will be around for a while.  Let’s take a minute to think about ways that we can keep ourselves and our family safe.

What should you wear?

  • hat
  • scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • water-resistant coat and shoes
  • several layers of loose-fitting clothing

Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Also, avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while de-icing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. These materials in contact with the skin greatly increase heat loss from the body.

 What should you eat?  We might not think that what we eat could be important to fight the dangers of cold weather, but it can be.

· Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.

· Do not drink alcoholic beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet  beverages such as hot chocolate to help maintain your body temperature.

· If you have any dietary restrictions, talk to your doctor.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

  • Hypothermia occurs when the body gets cold and loses heat faster than the body can make it. Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin. Frostbite refers to the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) that results when the blood vessels contract, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the affected body parts. Normal sensation is lost, and color changes also occur in these tissues.
  • Children and older adults are especially susceptible to these conditions. Keep an eye on them as they may not be aware that they are in danger

Remember your pets
· Bring them indoors if at all possible

· If they have to remain outside, provide shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to water that will not freeze.

These do’s and don’ts are common sense reminders that will help keep us safe and healthy even when mother nature is not cooperating!

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:
http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.asp

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/hypothermia-and-cold-temperature-exposure-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/understanding-frostbite-basics

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Offers-Safety-Steps-for-Extreme-Cold

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fourth july

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate our independence with picnics, barbecues, parades, fireworks and family gatherings. Let’s celebrate safely this Fourth of July with the following safety tips.

Food Safety Practices

•Perishable foods are limited to 2 hours sitting at room temperature (just one hour if it is over 90 degrees). Keep cold foods on ice. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and discard any perishable food that has been out too long in the hot temperatures.
• Use a clean platter and grill spatula to take the cooked food off the grill. The juices left on the grill spatula during grilling and the platter used to hold the uncooked meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
• Use a food thermometer to determine if the grilled meat is done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to ensure it has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

o Poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
o Hamburgers (ground meats) cooked to 160 degrees F.
o Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees F.
o Hot dogs should be cooked to 165 degrees F.

Grilling Safety

• Never grill indoors, in the garage, carports, under awnings
• Always keep your grill away from house siding, railings, trees and anything else flammable
• Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks
• Keep children away from the grill

Be a Safe Swimmer

• Never swim alone
• Be sure children are supervised at all times

Parades

• Keep children away from floats and vehicles traveling on a parade route
• Be sure children know what to do if they become lost or separated from parents or supervisors
• Designate a meeting place as soon as you arrive in a public location
• Remember to keep your cell phone battery charged.
Leave fireworks to the professionals
• It is not worth the risk to end up injured playing with fireworks.
• Enjoy the fireworks display in your community!
Stay safe and celebrate this 4th of July!

Resources: fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewers: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, MFCS, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, West Region, spires.53@osu.edu

Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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Beautiful Winter Snow Scene

Wintertime…….. Snow, Skiing, Sledding, Ice and Survival
It is a new year and now is a good time to plan for an emergency. It is better to be ready for the winter or an emergency BEFORE it happens.  What should you include in your emergency kit?
According to www.ready.gov, a basic emergency supply kit should include the following items:
Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or and crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust masks to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Local maps
Cell phone with chargers, inverters or solar energy
Additional items may be needed if you have an infant or family member who is on a medication. Think about your family when planning your kit. Go to http://www.ready.gov/winter for more information. You will find additional ideas for your emergency kit.

Prepare for Winter    What about your car? 

If you live in an area where winter visits you, there are basic supplies that you need to put in your car.  In an emergency, it may just save your life.  Take a few minutes to gather these items and put them in a tote in your car.

  Winter Storm Survival Kit for Cars

Keep the following items in your car during the winter. Make sure you do not leave without them:

  • blankets/sleeping bags
  • high-calorie, non-perishable food (granola, nuts, candy bar)
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • knife
  • extra clothing to keep dry
  • a large empty can and plastic cover with tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
  • a smaller can and water-proof matches to melt snow for drinking water;
  • sack of sand (or cat litter)
  • shovel
  • windshield scraper and brush
  • tool kit
  • tow rope
  • booster cables
  • water container
  • compass
  • road maps

Take these simple steps to Resolve to be Ready.  In an emergency, you will be glad you did!

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources: http://www.ready.gov/winter

http://www.fema.gov/

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/disaster/winter/ws_surv.html

Emergency Kit

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