With bitter cold temperatures gripping Long Island, health professionals are advising residents how to cope and stay safe while at home and outside.

Here are a few tips from officials at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow:

  • Do not heat your home with gas stoves, ovens, clothes dryers or candles. If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and do not use extension cords. Unplug the space heater when not in use.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home that meets safety standards. Battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup are available.
  • Never use a portable generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane or natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home. Always put these units outside away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Wear warm, loosefitting, lightweight clothing in layers. Clothing made of wool or synthetic fibers such as polypropylene offers more insulation than cotton. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and have a hood.
  • Seek medical attention if you see signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Symptoms of frostbite include the loss of feeling and white or pale extremities. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion.

The cold weather can also have adverse effects on pets, officials from the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said. The organization asks residents to abide by the following:

  • Keep pets indoors during freezing temperatures. If left outside unattended, they are vulnerable to frostbite and can become disoriented and freeze to death.
  • Dogs who are ill, old, very young or short-haired cannot endure prolonged exposure to winter weather. Take them out only to relieve themselves. Many dogs need boots in winter weather, regardless of coat length. If your dog frequently lifts up its paws, whines or stops on walks, its feet are uncomfortably cold and may need dog bootees for its paws.
  • When animals get frostbite, the skin can turn red, white or gray and scaly. If you suspect frostbite, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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