Winter weather safety: How and where to get care in WNC
Winter weather with a chance of snow or freezing rain is always a possible forecast. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to being prepared and being well during colder and wintry weather, including when and where to seek care if you find yourself caught in a snowstorm.
1. Have an emergency kit at home and a go box for your car.
While snow isn’t necessarily a disaster in itself, it can lead to one at home if we find ourselves without heat or power. An emergency kit at home and on the go could save your life.
Here’s how to build your or your family’s emergency kit.
No one wants to get stuck in the snow – particularly in the car, but it happens, so get a “Go Box” ready. These essentials in your trunk could save your life:
• An extra blanket in your car
• Extra clothes, in case yours get wet
• Some dry food and water
• A first-aid kit
• A flashlight
• A space blanket
• Duct tape
If you’re really stuck in your car in the cold, like really stuck, get your survival gear out of the trunk right away and duct tape a space blanket across the back of the front seats so you only have to heat half the space (don’t forget to crack the window 1-2 inches to let out carbon monoxide).
2. Dress warm and wear layers
When you leave the house in the winter season, particularly when there are snow and dipping temperatures, dress warm enough in case you get stuck outside or in the car. Our bodies like to stay around 98° F – hypothermia happens when your core falls below 95° F, which is potentially fatal. Stay warm by keeping your core warm, wearing layers, gloves and covering your ears, and recognize when your brain begins to suggest it’s time to go back inside.
3. Know where to go and how to get care when you need it
Mission Health’s six emergency departments are open 24/7 to care for patients with life-threatening conditions – even during winter weather. Our inclement weather plans are designed to provide the safest, highest quality care environment for our patients and team members, snow or no snow.
If you have an appointment with a Mission Health doctor or clinic, our practices may close in the interest of patient safety. Should your appointment be rescheduled, your doctor’s office will contact you. Practice closings and delays will be posted regularly on missionhealth.org/closing-delays.
In the event of a non-life-threatening emergency, Mission offers the convenience of online and walk-in care:
• Complete a visit online for $25 with Mission Virtual Clinic. You can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan for common illnesses such as colds, urinary tract infections or pink eye from the convenience of anywhere with an internet connection. In the event of a loss of power, you can complete the online visit from your mobile device. Learn more about Mission Virtual Clinic.
• Seek walk-in care – Mission My Care Now offers the convenience of walk-in primary care with extended and weekend hours. There are four locations across western North Carolina for treating non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Check local road conditions before venturing out.