Winters can be a difficult time for the state of Pennsylvania with snowstorms, blizzards, stormy winds, rains, and freezing temperatures. The Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, recently addressed the residents of Pennsylvania. She has urged them on behalf of the State Administration to stay prepared for any health hazards that might be caused by the weather.
Even before the first day of winter started, temperatures in Pennsylvania were already below the freezing point, and the residents had seen a measurable amount of snowfall. Climate experts had already predicted that the weather in Pennsylvania cities could be colder this year than the last few years.
But that is not the only reason for the state administrations concerned for the residents. The state of Pennsylvania has historically witnessed an increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases every year. But this year, there are even more concerns due to the rising cases of COVID-19.
With the ongoing pandemic, the winter this year might be unlike any that the state has experienced. The symptoms caused by cold weather can prove stressful for many residents. Many people are bound to feel nervous and emotional, which can cause lack of sleep, loss of hunger, anxiety, and several other health problems.
That is why Dr. Levine has urged the residence to practice healthy ways to cope with the stress in the following ways:
- Residents should take care of themselves by eating healthy and well-balanced meals.
- People should try to get as much exercise as possible, preferably indoors.
- Those who have trouble sleeping can try different ways to reduce anxiety, such as drinking tea and taking breaks from their work.
- If someone feels emotionally low, they should talk to friends or family members about it.
- The state administration has also urged residents to avoid the use of drugs and reduce alcohol consumption.
- If a person is feeling stressed due to the news or social media, they should take a break from these activities.
- The state has also urged people to recognize symptoms and seek professional help if required.
Dr. Levine stated that there are several health benefits of staying active during winters. While residents must avoid going out as much as they can, they can participate in several types of indoor activities. People can take fitness classes online from their home with their family members or friends.
Due to the unprecedented health concerns this winter, people should avoid exposing themselves to extremely cold temperatures, as it may lead to additional health problems. That is why Dr. Levine reminded the residents that winter weather in Pennsylvania can change rapidly.
She also said that people should check a trusted weather forecast source before they step outside their homes. During winters in Pennsylvania, even a small shift in the direction of wind or snow storm can prove hazardous for a member of the community.
Hypothermia and frostbite are two of the most common problems for people who get unnecessary exposure to cold weather. That is why she emphasized that people should make their outdoor trips as brief as possible. Residents should cover themselves in multiple layers of warm clothes and protect every part of the body.
She mentioned that people should be aware of the symptoms of both hypothermia and frostbite. The symptoms for hypothermia include:
- Excessive shivering
- Feeling exhausted and drowsiness
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Speech impairment
- Appearance of bright red skin
On the other hand, frostbite can cause the following symptoms:
- Absence of feeling in the affected area
- White or greyish-yellow skin tones
- Unusually waxy or firm skin
If a person notices any of these symptoms for themselves or someone they know, they should immediately seek medical attention. Older residents and infants are at a higher risk of facing severe winter-related health problems.
Therefore, their family members should check them frequently and make sure that they stay warm enough. Parents should make sure that a child should never fall asleep in a room without heating. Senior residents aged above 65 should ensure that they have adequate resources to maintain the temperature inside their homes.
The state administration has also informed the residents of Pennsylvania that there are several programs and resources for people who are unemployed at the moment. They recognize that many people may have lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic and might not have enough resources to battle the winter weather.
That is why The Department of Labour and Industry, Human Services, and the United Way of Pennsylvania has initiated several programs to help them. They can get basic necessities such as food, shelter, and utilities to people in need during the winter months. The city administration hopes that people will get through this winter of 20-21 without any severe health problems.