The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department along with other West Virginia local health departments (LHDs) has been monitoring the impending Winter Storm Jonas. This storm is described as a windy, strong, slow-moving storm that is expected to bring significant heavy snowfall to West Virginia including sleet or freezing rain. During any heavy snow storm, the potential exists for power outages. Residents are urged to use caution if working outdoor or shoveling snow to prevent serious illness. Heavy snowfall across West Virginia is a time where residents need to be reminded to avoid excessive exertion especially when shoveling snow that can lead to heart problems. Cold weather can increase extra strain on the heart. If a resident has heart disease or high blood pressure, they should follow their healthcare provider’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. If heavy outdoor chores are necessary or if they insist on shoveling snow, residents should dress warmly and work slowly. Near freezing temperature is considered a factor for cold stress. Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal, heat can more rapidly leave the body. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems. Be sure the outer layer of clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by cold. It is important to stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. If at any time a resident experiences chest pain, feeling light headed or shortness of breath, or if their heart starts racing, they should head indoors immediately. If they believe that they may be experiencing a heart attack or if medical attention is needed call 911.
Winter Storm Jonas Update
Thursday, January 21, 2016