Surviving bitter cold

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English: Downtown from Lincoln Park at dusk

Of course, the best tip for surviving this record breaking bitter cold spell of 2014 is to not go out if you don’t have to!

Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) Chief Operating Officer Dr. Terry Mason issued some tips on how residents can take precautions against the dangerously cold temperatures expected in the coming days:

Stay prepared at home:

  • Do not use an oven as a heating device. Read directions before using space heaters and other portable heating units.
  • Make sure cracks in windows and doors are repaired. For a quick fix, use towels, rugs or newspapers.
  • Have bottled water, canned foods, flashlights and batteries on hand in case a winter storm keeps you indoors.
  • Residents who have no heat should check with their local municipality or township about warming centers.

Dress for the cold:

  • Wear a warm hat, and keep feet and hands warm and dry.
  • Cover as much of your face as possible while outside, breathe through a scarf to warm air before it enters your lungs.
  • Wear several layers of lightweight clothing, rather than one or two layers of heavy garments. The air between the garments acts as insulation to keep the body warmer.

Keep your vehicle prepared:

  • Allow extra time when traveling and start your journey with a full tank of gas.
  • Monitor weather conditions carefully and adhere to travel advisories.
  • Keep a winter storm kit in your car. This should include blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies.

Stay healthy:

  • Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms:
  1. hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering
  2. frostbite: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin
  • Drink warm, caffeine-free, non-alcoholic beverages to stay warm and hydrated.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about medications that could cause problems in cold weather.
  • The elderly and infants can be particularly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions; check often to make sure they are safe.

Read more:


Girls – no freezing for fashion! Put the hats on, and the scarves, and gloves, and fleece lined tights. Exposed skin will freeze in just a couple minutes in these temperatures.

If your kitchen sink is on an outside wall, open the cabinet a crack to let some warmer air in. They say to let your faucet drip. Same goes for crawl spaces. Crack the door open to let a little warm air in to help keep the pipes from freezing.

Brush the snow off of your car to let the sun warm it. Keep the gas tank full.

This is a great time to use the oven for cooking which will have the added benefit of keeping your house warm. Think meatloaf, pot roast, cookies … Find recipes to inspire you 

Since you’re stranded in the house anyway, wouldn’t this be a good time to put away the holiday decorations and get your home cleaned and organized?

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