Tips on Staying Safe and Healthy on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is once again upon us, a night to reflect back on the last 366 days and celebrate the coming year. As the clock runs down for 2015, many people will be drinking, dancing, and telling stories of days gone by while presenting goals for 2016. Whether celebrating at a house party with friends and family, or out at a city-sponsored event, taking a few precautions will ensure that everyone gets to and from their destinations safely.

Traveling?

  • If you plan to drive on New Year’s Eve, don’t drink and drive.
  • If you have a friend who does not drink, ask them to be the designated driver.
  • If you are driving; be alert behind the wheel, be aware of your surroundings, and be prepared to drive in winter weather.
  • Use seatbelts and prepare an emergency safety kit for your vehicle.
  • Take public transportation if possible.

Celebrating with Alcohol?

  • Pace yourself and pay attention to how much you are consuming. Drinking too much alcohol can make you sick and can lead to alcohol poisoning.
  • Stay hydrated by alternating alcoholic drinks with water, juice, or soda.
  • Alcohol typically enters the bloodstream quickly. However, the amount and type of food in your stomach can alter this pace: high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods can slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
  • If you’ve had too much to drink, call a taxi or have a sober friend or family member to pick you up.

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Will you be in a Crowd?

  • Be mindful of your surroundings and how others are acting, and give a wide berth to those who seem out of control.
  • If someone appears intoxicated, keep them from driving and call them a cab to ensure they get home safely, and don’t let them leave with someone they do not know.

Hosting a Party?

  • Contact a local cab company to provide rides for your guests and book them in advance.
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages for your guests.

Attending a Party?

  • Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before the celebration begins.
  • If you stay out late, consider staying overnight at a friend’s house or booking a local hotel within walking distance from the party.

Do you have Pets?

  • Loud noises can scare pets. Give them extra attention so their pets won’t run away in a panic upon hearing the pop of a champagne bottle or exploding fireworks.
  • Keep your pets inside, in a comfortable room, with comforting music playing to drown out loud, unusual noises.
  • Make sure all fences and gates are secure so if pets leave the house, they are confined to the yard.
  • Ask your veterinarian for tranquilizers if your animal has shown signs of extreme uneasiness around loud noises or crowds in the past.
  • Make sure your pet has its ID or dog license, and if it has a microchip, make sure it is current. This will make it easier to get you pet back if he/she escapes your home and yard during festivities.

On New Year’s Eve, everyone wants to have an unforgettable night — in a good way. By following a few simple steps, having a good sense of awareness, and taking these safety tips to heart, we can all have a happy, healthy, and safe celebration.  Have a happy, safe, and healthy 2016!

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Tips on Staying Safe and Healthy on New Year’s Eve.” For more information, please visit blog.mass.gov.

 

Protect Your Pet During Winter: Don’t Be Afraid to Speak

dog-cold-snow-AdobeStock_96196324.jpgAvoid antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.

Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold

If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. If they don’t respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather.” For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org.

Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather

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Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

Protect paws from salt

The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather.” For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org.

Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Car

Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
    • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
    • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include:
      • blankets;
      • food and water;
      • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
      • compass and maps;
      • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
      • first-aid kit; and
      • plastic bags (for sanitation).

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article,”Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter.” For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov.

Equip in advance for emergencies

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Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
  • When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • Battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.
  • Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
    • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
    • Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
    • Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article,”Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter.” For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov.

Protect Your Pet During Cold Weather: Neighborhood Cats and Your Own

Help neighborhood outdoor cats

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a hand.

Give your pets plenty of food and water

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather.” For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org.

Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

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Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take these steps for your home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.

  • Winterize your home.
    • Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
    • Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
    • Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
  • Check your heating systems.
    • Have your heating system serviced professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside.
    • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
    • Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly.
    • Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
    • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.
      • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Check batteries regularly.
      • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article,”Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter.” For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov.

Protect Your Pet in Winter: Cars, Wild Life, and Salt

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In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm by following these simple guidelines:

Keep pets indoors

The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time.

Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. During walks, short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside

A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather.” For more information, please visit www.humanesociety.org.