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Cold weather increases risk of heart attack

The biting cold and low temperatures are only just getting started, and will last through the weekend into the new year.

Bitter cold and possible precipitation affects not only road conditions, leaving dangerous ice and slick spots, but also health.

According to experts at Harvard Medical school, cold weather can compromise your health.

Immune systems during the winter are vulnerable because people spend more time indoors and in close quarters with other people who could spread germs. It’s recommended that people wash their hands frequently.

Cold weather also narrows blood vessels, increasing risks of heart attacks so dressing warm and avoiding strenuous activity is a must. That includes shoveling snow and exercising profusely.

Balance can also be affected. Sidewalks can be icy so wear good shoes that have traction and can grip surfaces. Experts also say people should use handrails even if they don’t need one.

Hypothermia is also a real threat in this weather as well. You should be aware of your body and if something doesn’t feel right, like your limbs stiffen up, experts said you should call 911.

Here are some of the warming centers in Columbia and Boone County:

ARC: Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Columbia Mall: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Columbia Public Library: Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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