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Protecting Against Cold

Keeping Warm in Winter Months

Jennifer Rhodes-Kropf, M.D.'s picture
Protecting against cold
Protecting against cold

It seems to go without saying – make sure to dress warmly during the cold winter months. For seniors, however, it’s particularly important to protect against the cold. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at retaining heat, making older people more vulnerable to hypothermia (low body temperature) often brought on by extreme temperatures.

Hypothermia symptoms often develop slowly. You can become confused, drowsy, and have trouble speaking. If not treated immediately, hypothermia can cause life-threatening emergencies. Stay warm and safe this winter with the following tips:

  • Insulate your home properly; caulk windows to prevent drafts.
  • Do not risk your health for a reduced heating bill; thermostat should be set at least 68 degrees during the winter.
  • When outside, wear layers of warm clothing, including a hat and scarf to prevent heat loss through your head.
  • Use extra blankets at bedtime, as hypothermia can develop during sleep.
  • Eat nutritious foods, exercise moderately, and get an adequate amount of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you live alone, have a relative or neighbor check in with you on a daily basis to make sure that you are okay.

More information on winter weather safety,

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Geriatrician

Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, is a staff geriatrician at HRC. She received her medical degree from the University of North Carolina and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and her residency in internal medicine at Cornell University/New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, completed a geriatrics fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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