CITYWIDE Public health officials issued a Cold Weather Advisory for coastal areas, which are expected to be in the mid 40s to low 50s until Friday.

“Because children and the elderly are especially vulnerable during such cold snaps, care should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, director of public health. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

A Winter Shelter Program is available for seniors and those looking for a place to stay warm. Locations and transportation information can be found on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s Web site at: www.lahsa.org, or by calling the county Information line at 211. For the deaf and hearing disabled, call the TDD line at (800) 660-4026.

Take precautions to protect yourself from the cold:

• Dress in layers of warm clothing if you plan to be outdoors.

• Protect extremities from the cold by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, and socks.

• Offer to help those in your neighborhood with limited access to heat, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently.

• During peak cold times, if you don’t have a heater in your home, visit indoor public facilities such as shopping malls, libraries or senior centers.

• If you use an outdoor generator, place it as far away from the home as possible.

• Stoves, barbecues and ovens can produce a deadly gas known as carbon monoxide when used to heat a home. Never use these appliances in place of approved heaters such as electric, natural gas, or fireplaces. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to reduce the risk of poisoning.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include shortness of breath, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and nausea. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide could lead to death within minutes. Those suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should be taken outside, into fresh air, immediately, and should be taken to an emergency room for immediate medical treatment.

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