Bundle up!

If you had your way you would most likely lock yourself in, close the curtains, turn up the heat and not emerge from your home until the flowers begin to bud again.

However, for most of us that is not possible, so the next best thing is to know how to prepare yourself for stepping out into that frigid weather that has greeted us this week.

“When they’re down to single digits, definitely well below freezing, your risk of frostbite is certainly much greater, so you should dress warm,” Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams said. “Cover your hands and your feet with insulated materials, wear boots, stay warm, layer your clothing and if it’s cold and windy, cover your face with a face mask if you’re going to be out for a long period of time, wear a scarf and hat to cover your ears.”

Adams said it is important, if you are going outdoors, to stay active and not to sit around.

“If you’re sick, it is probably not a good place to be,” Adams said. “Stay in where it’s warm. And don’t go to work like that.”

The other people who have to be keenly aware of falling temperatures are people with chronic illnesses.

“In any extremes – whether it’s hot or cold – either one, they tend to create a bigger problem with their chronic health risks if you expose yourself to those extremes,” Adams said. “But I think if we can convince people to use things that have been around for a long time, like wool, scarves, caps that cover your ears, layers, you’ll be fine.”

Here is the good news – look for temperatures to rise at least for the next few days.

The forecast calls for patchy freezing drizzle before 10 a.m. Thursday, then patchy drizzle between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Partly cloudy Thursday night with a low around 33.

Rain, mainly after 3 p.m. on Friday with a high near 49. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent with new precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Some tips for combatting the cold:

Always have a well-stocked emergency supply kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, a manual can opener and extra heavy blankets.

Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young. Also, consider your pets and bring them inside or make sure they have a warm place and access to water.

Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing, and hats and gloves. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite, which is damaging to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.

Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.

Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. Unvented kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts. Call Mass211 or check with your local Emergency Management Office to find the locations of any Warming Centers that may be open in your community.

When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove, space heater or a generator, take the necessary safety precautions and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

If you lose heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.

Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

Wrap pipes to keep them from freezing; allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. Know where the water shutoffs are in case of breaks and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate.

If pipes freeze, open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

Make sure your car is properly winterized and keep the gas tank at least half full. Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshields scraper, shovel, sand, tow rope and jumper cables.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.