CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The coldest air we’ve had in nearly 7 years is on the way and these bitter cold temperatures can have a drastic impact on your health.

As temperatures drop, health risks increase from less severe cold-related stress to life-threatening conditions like hypothermia. Symptoms of cold-related stress include shivering, changes in skin color in your hands and ears, mental confusion, slurred speech, and increased urination. When the body starts to near hypothermia, you go into a stage where your kidneys get more full and you have a diuretic effect. We spoke to a Wilbraham mom who is making indoor plans for her kids.

Heather Gawron of Wilbraham said, “As a mom of two young children we are trying to find things to do inside because our sledding plans will have to be rearranged for the lack of snow and cold weather. We are stocking up on board games and finding things that we can bake in the house.”

It’s very important to check on elderly neighbors, those without heat, and those who may be unhoused. Pets should not be left outdoors during this time period. To protect against freezing pipes, ensure plumbing is well-insulated, and leave faucets dripping.