New York State Department of Health Urges New Yorkers to Follow Winter Safety Tips As Winter Approaches

Department Provides Cold Weather Tips to Keep Residents Safe

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 29, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health is urging New Yorkers to take precautions, as winter approaches, to prevent serious injury and dangerous health complications that can result from colder weather and winter activities.

"As New Yorkers, we are used to winter, yet it is important to plan ahead and be prepared, so we avoid weather related injuries," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Dressing appropriately to prevent frostbite, being careful when using generators and space heaters, and making sure to be aware of road conditions before traveling can keep everyone safe and healthy during the winter months."

The Department provides several cold weather tips to keep New Yorkers safe.

Exposure to extreme cold can cause life-threatening conditions, such as hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is a dangerous cooling of body temperature over time which can be fatal if not detected immediately and treated properly. Those most at risk are infants, the elderly, and those who work or play outdoors. Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, fatigue, drowsiness, exhaustion, blue skin and or numbness, confusion, disorientation, memory loss, slurred speech, and a glassy stare. Infants may appear to have very low energy and cold, bright red skin.

Frostbite is especially dangerous because it often occurs with little warning. Frostbite causes numbness and red, waxy-looking skin. Symptoms can come on so quickly that individuals suffering from frostbite may be unaware and remain in cold conditions, which increases the chance of permanent damage to body tissue. People with diabetes and those intoxicated by alcohol or drug use can be especially susceptible to frostbite.

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia by layering clothing to avoid the loss of body heat, wearing hats, gloves, and boots, and replacing wet or damp clothing with dry clothes and blankets to warm up as soon as possible.

Cold weather also places an extra burden on the heart and lungs. People with heart problems, asthma and other breathing disorders, or high blood pressure should follow their doctor's advice about shoveling or any strenuous outdoor exercise. Healthy adults should also dress appropriately for cold weather and work slowly when undertaking heavy outdoor chores to avoid potential problems

Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by having heating systems inspected every year to ensure they are running properly and safely. Also, check vents to the outside regularly to make sure they are not blocked with snow or ice, and never run cars, trucks, or motorcycles inside a garage that is attached to a house – or in a detached garage with the garage door shut.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, gas that can kill a person before they are aware it is present. CO deaths are entirely preventable. Install CO alarms in homes and check them twice a year to make sure the batteries are working properly. Early signs of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or confusion. CO poisoning should be suspected if these symptoms occur or get worse soon after turning on a fuel-burning device.

If an alternate source for heat is needed, such as a fireplace, wood stove, or portable kerosene heater, it should be vented to the outside. Stoves, outdoor grills, or ovens should never be used to provide heat indoors.

If CO poisoning is suspected, immediately have everyone leave the area to get fresh air. Contact the fire department, the gas company, or a heating contractor.

Driving conditions can also be a challenge during winter weather, with snow and ice affecting visibility and road surfaces. Before heading out, check the weather forecast and media reports for storm warnings or road hazards along the way and at destinations. Drivers can also check for travel alerts and road conditions by viewing the traffic cameras at sites such as

The Department wants to ensure that all New Yorkers remain safe as they enjoy the winter months.

Cold Weather tips can be found here.

Additional tips for preventing frostbite and hypothermia can be found here.

Information on Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be found here.

Information on the proper use of generators can be found here.

Safe winter driving tips can be found here.