NEW JERSEY -- Cold weather is expected to be with us in New Jersey right through the New Year. Those who can stay home will enjoy the warmth of their houses. However, for those who must brave the elements, here are some practical tips:

  • Lay off the alcohol: That warm feeling you get after drinking alcohol is actually heat rushing through your expanded blood vessels. That increases heat loss, putting you more at risk.
  • Walk/run: The increased activity will warm you up. Make sure you're dressed properly.
  • Cover up extremities. If you fingers, nose, chin, ears or cheeks lose feeling and color, you're at risk of frostbite, which can occur in just a few minutes in frigid temperatures.

Dress for the conditions

  • Dress appropriately for the cold. Synthetic fabrics and wool provide good insulation, and some synthetics are designed to keep perspiration away from your body. (Removing moisture, helps keep you dry and reduces your risk of frostbite.)
  • Like you mom told you, dress in layers with a wind resistant outer layer. You can remove layers if you get too warm or add a layer if you get cold.
  • Wear warm socks, gloves, a hat and scarf in cold weather. Cover your nose to protect it.

Prepare your home 

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  • Check your heating system regularly; arrange maintenance to prevent breakdowns when you need heat most.
  • Shut off exterior taps to prevent freezing.
  • Be sure your attic is properly insulated.
  • Add weather strips to windows and/or doors.

Take care of your pets

  • While your dog may have a nice fur coat, it doesn't make him immune from the cold. Aside from necessary bathroom breaks, keep pets inside during sub-freezing weather.
  • Protect their paws: Snow and cold sidewalks can cause cracked or bleeding paw pads. 
  • Dress 'em up: A coat can ward off effects of the cold, especially for short-haired breeds.
  • Wipe their feet: Paws can pick up antifreeze, salt and de-icing chemicals. Wipe your animal's feet before they lick them. This will reduce the risk of poisoning.

Care for your car

  • Top up fluids: Keep windshield wiper fluid at a high level to reduce the risk of freezing. Try not to not let your gasoline level go below a quarter of a tank.
  • Spray your windshield and windows with 3:1 mixture of distilled vinegar and water to prevent icing. 
  • Check your oil: Make sure the brand you are using retains viscosity in cold weather.
  • Change the battery: You should do this every three years or so. 
  • Have an emergency kit: If the car breaks down on the road you'll need blankets, food and water, booster cables, flares, tire pump, sand or cat litter (for traction), flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries, first-aid kit and plastic bags.

Tips courtesy of