Monthly Chatterbox

Dec’s Chatterbox

Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants, older adults, and the chronically ill. Take a few minutes to prepare yourself and others for cold weather. Check the weather report to find out what to expect so you can prepare. Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories. Stay dry and dress appropriately in layers of loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing. Check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards. Prepare your car for winter weather. Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

Take These Steps for Your Home Many people prefer to remain indoors during winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months. Winterize your home. Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls. Maintain a room temperature of at least 68°F to 70°F. Also, make sure every window is covered and walls are properly insulated Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks. Check your heating systems. Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside. Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys. Install a smoke detector or contact your local Fire Department to install one for you. Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available. Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas.

Flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and can lead to hospitalization. Flu can sometimes even lead to death As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu. While vaccination is recommended before the end of October, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial during most seasons for people who have put it off. Even if have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since many different flu viruses spread during flu season and most flu vaccine protects against four different flu viruses. So it’s not to late to get your shot

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on Friday, December 20th, 2019! National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is about proudly sporting your favorite ugly Christmas sweater for the entire day…regardless of circumstances

It is a fact of life that people grow older every day. With increasing age come changes in physical, mental and sensory abilities that can challenge a person’s continued ability to drive safely. But there are a variety of safe travel options for people of all ages. The real need is a broader awareness of the solutions, rather than a narrow focus on the problem. December 2-6, 2019, aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensuring older adults remain active in the community, shopping, working or volunteering with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier to strand them at home We all experience physical and mental changes as we age. Some may be so minor that we don’t notice them, while others may interfere with daily life. Slower reaction time, night blindness, and pain and stiffness can affect driving skills but do not need to prohibit driving. As part of the aging process, some people experience physical, cognitive, and sensory changes that can affect driving When an ache or pain begins hindering driving ability, many older drivers are able to continue driving safely after making a few adjustments. Other items such as Good vision is essential for good driving health. But, as people age, everyone experiences declines in vision. Diminished strength,coordination and flexibility can have a major impact on your ability to safely control your car . For example, drivers who find it painful to rotate their body to reach the seatbelt can benefit from a cloth loop attached to it so they can pull the seatbelt on with only slight turning. Those with stiff fingers from arthritis can depress the seatbelt latch with a small tool that they leave in the car. Even getting into and out of the car can become much easier through something like a Handybar. Taking notice of changes such as having trouble seeing at night can be remedied by choosing to restrict driving to daylight hours. Those experiencing anxiety about driving in heavy traffic may find errands to be more pleasant if they plan to drive at times other than rush hour.

With age, it becomes more difficult to maintain normal body temperature. Senior citizens frequently have decreased blood flow, slower metabolism and illnesses that can cause them to lose body heat. Additionally, with age there is a loss of muscle (sarcopenia) and since muscle generates heat, older people may be susceptible to cooler temperatures that may not bother younger people. (This is also the reason why some elderly people bundle themselves up and turn the heat up in August.) The result of these points is that colder weather increases the chance of developing hypothermia (low body temperature) a drop in core body temperature below 95°F. This may cause shivering, stiffness in limbs, sleepiness, slurred speech, abnormal heart rhythms and if not treated – death. Dress for warmth by wearing layers, and investing in a hat, gloves, and boots with solid traction. One of the best ways to keep your heart in top form is engaging in regular exercise. It builds stamina, strengthens the lungs and can lower your risk of heart disease.

The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Wearing a ribbon is a great way to raise awareness on and during the run up to World AIDS Daywhich is 1 Dec. In 1991, a decade after the emergence of HIV, twelve artists gathered in a gallery in New York’s East Village. They had met to discuss a new project for Visual AIDS, a New York HIV-awareness arts organisation. It was there that they came up with what would become one of the most recognised symbols of the decade: the red ribbon, worn to signify awareness and support for people living with HIV.

At the time, HIV was highly stigmatised, and the suffering of communities living with HIV remained largely hidden. The artists wanted to create a visual expression of compassion for people living with HIV. They avoided traditional colours associated with the gay community, such as pink and rainbow stripes, because they wanted to convey that HIV was relevant to everyone. They chose red for its boldness, and for its symbolic associations with passion, the heart and love. The red ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the efforts to increase public awareness of HIV. It has inspired other charities to utilise the symbol, such as the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.

Many older people suffer from dry spots on the skin, often on their lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. Dry skin patches feel rough and scaly. There are many possible reasons for dry skin, such as not drinking enough liquids, being in dry air, smoking, stress, and losing sweat and oil glands, which is common with age. Dry skin also can be caused by health problems, such as diabetes or kidney disease. Using too much soap, antiperspirant, or perfume and taking hot baths can make dry skin worse. Some medicines can make skin itchy. Because older people have thinner skin, scratching can cause bleeding that may lead to infection. Talk to your doctor if your skin is very dry and itchy.

Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry). Take these steps to help protect yourself and others against the spread of germs.Regular handwashing, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.