Storm warning: Keep babies, elderly and chronically ill snug and warm

Stormy weather predictions for this coming weekend have prompted the Health Ministry to issue recommendations on protecting susceptible individuals from cold-related illnesses.

Rain in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Rain in Jerusalem
With ferociously wet, cold and windy weather expected on Thursday and Friday, the Health Ministry has issued recommendations on protecting babies, the chronically ill and the elderly.
Infants, young children and the aged are most susceptible to hypothermia, in which the body temperature drops to 35 degrees Celsius, from the healthy body temperature of about 37 degrees.
To combat the cold, heat the home at a constant temperature of about 24 degrees and not less than 21 degrees. It is recommended to hang a thermometer to measure room temperature.
The air humidity in the room can be maintained by placing wet towels on radiators, but do not put them on convectors or any other device that could cause fires. A big pot of water on a low fire on the stove can also help to alleviate dry air.
Ensure the proper sealing of openings, such as windows, doors and so on. Babies should be dressed in layers. The elderly should wear warm clothes and use blankets as necessary.
Check the safety of heating stoves in the apartment, with the help of family members and professionals. Weather forecasts must be monitored accordingly.
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily, even when you’re not thirsty, as heating dries people out. Warm drinks, like tea, and warm foods, like soup, help keep the body warm. Avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. Eat relatively light meals often (five or six a day) and avoid heavy meals.
When you stay at home, be sure to exercise and move about to increase blood circulation and keep body temperature at its optimum level.
Ask your doctor about the drugs you take and medical conditions you have that may increase your sensitivity to cold. As for elderly who live alone, keep in touch with them, arranging for family members, friends, neighbors, or volunteers to visit at least once a day.
If an elderly person is less active than usual, it may be a sign of hypothermia. In the initial stages, the elderly person suffering from cold will not tremble and will not complain about feeling cold. If there is any suspicion of hypothermia, call for medical help immediately.
The elderly may want to minimize their heating devices to save money. Apply to the municipality for heating grants if they can’t afford to heat their homes properly. Undernourished and elderly people are more vulnerable to the cold.