Health Watch - Winter Survival: Makeshift Heat

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve got some survival strategies for dealing with winter. When it’s cold outside, it’s important to stay warm in your home, but you should be careful when heating your home.

Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that using makeshift heating measures could lead to accidents or injuries — even death. Never use ovens or stovetops for heating your home. If you use space heaters, use them properly. Keep them away from flammable objects like drapes or furniture, and place them so they can’t be accidentally tipped over. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. If you’re using a fireplace, inspect it before starting a fire to make sure the flue and chimney aren’t blocked. The room should be properly ventilated when you use the fireplace.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in emergency care.


January 2009

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