Don't let the cold weigh on your wallet and your health - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Don't let the cold weigh on your wallet and your health

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's day two of these freezing temperatures, and it's not something we should be taking lightly. This type of weather can be costly to your health and your wallet.

Since Thursday, One Hour Heat and Air has been slammed with calls. During last year's ice storm, they got about 150 calls a day. To avoid having to make a costly heating repair, they say there are steps you can take now.

They say if you're diligent about changing your air filter monthly and sealing your ducts, your system will run more efficiently.

Anthony Spadone with One Hour Heating and Air says, keep the heat on. If you leave your heat off, your home could reach the temperature it is outside. Then, if you try to turn it on, on a frigid day, the temperature will never catch up and you will never warm your home. Spadone also recommends keeping it at a constant temp, like 68 degrees.

Technicians say a huge and common problem is turning your thermostat on and off, especially because, most of us are working on heat pumps.

"They're heat pumps, they're not made to make rapid changes in temperature inside your houses. It's just gonna put more strain on your equipment and it's just gonna run your electric bills up because then you'll be running your electric heat and your heat pump at the same time,” said Spadone.

Since we want to keep the heat in, cover your windows where air peaks in. You can buy heavy-duty plastic sheeting from a home improvement store and tightly seal it to the sides of windows.

Another money saver is making use of your ceiling fans. We all know the phrase, “heat rises,” well we can bring it down. Turn your fans clockwise and it will push the warm air in your direction, for better circulation.

Although the sun's not out yet, it's free heat. If you open your curtains you can let some of that natural sunlight in.

In this weather, most of us want to stay indoors and crank up the heat, but that could be putting you closer to a doctor visit or worse.

Local doctors say frostbite and frostnip are real concerns but they're very rare here. It's being inside is what you need to watch out for.

Spending time in indoors, where it's warm, spreads more viruses much easier.

Doctors say most diseases are not airborne, and are just from filthy hands. Sanitizer and hand washing will keep you healthiest.

Doctors urge that this weather means paying attention to personal illnesses. The chill can exacerbate any kind of lung disease like asthma, COPD and emphysema. Once that cold air hits peoples' lungs, they tend to be triggered into an attack and doctors say often times it can send people to the emergency room.

The big issue they say they're seeing right now continues to be the flu. Grand Strand Medical Center says the flood of the flu is here and we need to do what we can to keep from drowning.

“It's a lot easier to catch than a lot of other diseases, it is a lot scarier than other diseases, we're already losing people this year, dying from the flu, healthy people that we would never think would die from it and so its something to be respected,” said Dr. Jon Pangia at Grand Strand Medical Center.

During this flu season in South Carolina, there have been more than 1,600 hospitalizations and 38 deaths. South Carolina is one of the states with high flu activity, according to the Department of Health.

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