Arguably, of all seasons, winter is the harshest. While you could be grumbling about all the snow on your front porch and on your roof, some people have it even worse. A New York Times article dubbed the winter as the “deadliest of the four seasons”. The report showed that of the over 2,000 Americans who perish due to the weather, 63% succumbed to extreme cold and hypothermia. Only about 31% were killed due to extreme heat. The rest died of other natural causes: lightning, floods, and storms.
What does all this mean? You may not like it but you’ll have to protect yourself from the torments of winter. Think of it as a litmus test. Winter, for sure, isn’t lasting. Making your home withstand the cold means prepping it for eventualities. The problem is exhibiting lax behavior. Many Americans do. The virus surge made us all aware of that. Know then that this winter the challenges have skyrocketed more than ever. Not only are you up against the winter, we still have a deadly virus to contend with.
Surviving the COVID-19-complicated Flu Season
Things could certainly add up. And if America’s response to the COVID-19 scare were to be used as a barometer, this sweater weather may rack up to be the worst winter ever.
Why? First up, we are a country already burdened by over 200,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. Take note, that’s a number rising steadily daily. Put in the mix the flu season. Now let’s not talk about the Spanish flu. That was a mega-problem all its own. Let’s just focus on the regular flu that visits us yearly during the cold winter months.
You may not believe it but flu and all its complications have resulted in thousands of lives lost in America. CDC data revealed that over 80,000 people died in 2017 due to the flu. That’s rather high and is not the usual. Still, it happened.
The cold, cold weather has a lot of ways to negatively affect us. Heavy snow for one can easily make roads unpassable. The Great Lakes and Midwest region are most vulnerable.
If you’re not careful, you could get frostbite. This could damage some body parts starting with your ears and cheeks. Blisters form and you will find it hard moving about.
Then there is the case of hypothermia. This is when your body temperature drops below 35˚C/95˚F levels. Your body fails to create the heat needed for it to function. It could lead to death.
Cleaning your front porch with a shovel can be an issue too. Yes, many people have died while doing just that. The answer is it strains your heart. A half-hour of shoveling is like lifting weights in the gym for half an hour. As you shovel in the cold, your heart rate together with your blood pressure rises. This triggers the hard plaques lining your blood vessel to come loose. In short, a heart attack ensues.
Strengthening Your Home
As cold as the weather outside, maintaining warmth in your abode is a must. Your heating system should be in tip-top shape to keep you warm inside. On the other end, you will need your air conditioner to be functional too.
You might be surprised about using the AC during winter. Know that running it can help dehumidify your indoor air, keeping your windows as clear as day. Additionally, a heat pump aircon unit can also function as a heating unit. Just connect it to an outside heat source.
It’s for this reason and more that an AC tune-up is a blessing. It ensures that your air conditioner functions best when you need it most.
Then there is the case of winter-proofing your home. To do that, you need to do an energy audit. Warm air rises upwards. So if your roof has holes, be in the vents or what-not, your precious warm air escapes.
And it’s but timely. An energy audit can be done at any time of the year but the winter months offer a most timely opportunity. That’s because the discrepancy between the temperature outside and inside is wide. You can check energy loss better when you do a thermographic scan.
As for movement, make sure you get to protect yourself when running up and about. There are ways you can bring warmth to you. Best of all, it doesn’t need to be much. A below $25 electric scarf is classic.
Keeping warm is key to surviving the harsh winter. To do that, you need to make sure heat stays with you inside and outside your precious abode. It’s a tall order. But it can’t be that hard when you keep in mind there are simple steps you can do to keep everyone safe and sound.