Climate and PH: surviving cold weather

Nurse Carolyn Pugliese has generously shared some of her expertise on how PH patients can handle the colder temperatures of the winter months. Below are her wise words on beating the cold:

Stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often and sanitize between washes.
  • If you do smoke, please quit.
  • Care for your teeth and gums.
  • Avoid germs whenever possible. Be careful about exposure to others who may be sick. If it’s unavoidable that you will be exposed to germs, wear a mask, and wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap and or hand sanitizer immediately and often.

Be ready for the cold:

  • Get a flu shot.
  • Buy extra groceries in case snow or cold suddenly keeps you indoors.
  • Make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed to eliminate drafts.
  • Make sure your furnace filters are clean so that the air in your house is not complicating your breathing.

If you do decide to go outside:

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting garments so as not to constrict your breathing, but allow you protection against the cold.
  • Keep your oxygen tubing (if you use it) inside your clothing to keep the air warm.
  • Minimize the cold that you feel. Bundle up and cover up as much as possible to limit exposure.
  • Limit your time outside so that the cold doesn’t have a chance to affect you in a negative way.
  • Breathe through your nose—it will help warm the air.
  • On very cold days, wrap a scarf around your face: it will help warm the cold air before it reaches your nose.
  • When you first step outside, stop and breathe a few short breaths before proceeding—this may save you a few coughing spells.
  • Park close or get dropped off - don't walk farther than you are able, especially in the cold air.

Always remember - Call your doctor after hours or on weekends to seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms of infection such as increased shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing or coughing, fever or chills.

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