Guide to Preparing for Winter in Mzansi

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Photo by Claire Morgan on

The cold months of Winter have settled in Mzansi.

Preparing for winter includes many aspects that need to be taken care of, like home improvements, changes to the wardrobe, stocking up on essentials etc.

So, Mapepeza has compiled a guide that you might need to make sure you gear up for the winter.

Stock up on those Vitamins

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Gearing up for winter includes doing many things. Stocking up on vitamins is a good idea because the cold winter months often bring on colds and flu. Eating right and taking a couple of supplements can really help since along with the winter months.

Taking the right vitamin supplements can help you stay healthy.

Go out and buy a humidifier for your home. During the winter months homes can become very dry and having a humidifier can greatly help to keep your home filled with moisture.

Skin care is essential

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Taking a proactive approach to caring for your skin during the winter months will help you avoid the worst effects that these months can have on your skin.

Make sure to buy plenty of moisturizing lotions and lip balms.

The skin can become very dry during the cold winter months and lips can become chapped. You can avoid these things by putting plenty of lotion and lip balm on.

Moisturizers keep the skin conditioned while offering protection against the harsh effects of the cold.  The drier the skin becomes, the more frequently a moisturizer should be applied. 

Vaseline is your friend

To treat any of those very dry, scaly patches that might develop, use a petroleum based product on the affected areas before bed.  Believe it or not, plain old Vaseline works wonders on stubborn dry, cracked, and flaking skin. 

Unfortunately, most people cringe at the idea of using Vaseline on their face, thinking that it will clog pores and, in general, have a negative effect on the skin. 

In a word- untrue! Vaseline and similar petroleum based products provide a protective, insulating barrier for the skin on those frigid, windy days when applied as a light coat to the face and lips.

Other skin care tips

Wearing a scarf that can be easily pulled up to protect the cheeks and bottom portion of your face is also a helpful preventative measure to limit the skin’s exposure to the elements.

Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. 

As cold as it may be, avoid long hot showers and baths. This will help the skin retain some of the moisture as bathing washes off natural oils from your skin and makes it dry and flaky.

Preparing your car

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By the time winter hits, most people are prepared with a closet full of sweaters, boots, and heavy coats.

This winter, make sure your vehicle is as prepared as you are. Here’s a list of things you can do to prepare your car for winter. If you need auto repair done, take your car to a mechanic.

During winter, snow, ice, and dark evenings can make driving very dangerous. 

Fix the wheels

Firstly, inspect your brakes.

When it comes to safety, no part of your car is more important than the braking system. The brakes should be inspected at least twice a year to determine the condition of operating hardware and the hydraulic system.

Properly functioning brakes can prevent wheels from locking on slick surfaces.

Check your tyre tread. A deep tread will help to prevent skidding in wet and icy conditions.

Also, check your tyre pressure. Let an auto repair mechanic check your wheels’ pressure.

Set the pressure to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific tyres. Believe it or not, tyres lose pressure when they get cold, so pump them up.

Other car care tips

Replace your windshield wiper blades at least once a year. The windshield wipers do not seem particularly important to safety, but if you are driving in the cold and cannot see the road conditions ahead, you can be a danger to everyone on the road, including yourself. Your wipers must be in great shape to be able to handle snow, ice, and rain.

Check your lights. Make sure your brake lights, turn signals, and high beams are working properly. Make sure the headlights are aimed correctly. Keep your lights spotless for maximum visibility.

Inspect your battery. If the battery is more than a few years old, take your vehicle, truck, or SUV to an auto repair mechanic to test its capacity. Starting your vehicle in freezing weather requires a fully charged battery with good cable connections.

Get your car’s oil changed. To keep your engine in good condition, you need to keep up with your car’s most frequently needed service. Make sure to change your engine oil as recommended by the manufacturer.

Driving safe on Winter

Driving in winter conditions can be both challenging and frustrating. Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your loved ones safer on the road.

  • Take it slow, reduce your speed. Driving with reduced speed is one of the most important things you can do when snow’s on the ground. By driving more slowly, you’ll have more time to maneuver when accelerating, stopping and turning.
  • Follow traffic at a safe distance and don’t pass a snow plow that is clearing snow from the road.
  • Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge
  • Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. Remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.
  • Keep your lights on all the time so that other vehicles can see you better.

Warming up your home

snow covered wooden house near trees
Photo by Kelly Lacy on

When winter arrives, heating your house or apartment will be necessary.

Heating up a house is not only a way to keep inhabitants comfortable; it will keep them healthy, alive and your property intact. Our bodies must be kept at certain temperatures to maintain homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a term that refers to keeping all systems within the body stable and working. When our blood flow, nerve functioning, brain operations and every other working part of the body must be kept at minimum temps or it will shut down. 

Although our bodies are miraculous machines that can adapt to a certain amount of heat and cold, extremely frigid temperatures can shut it down, causing hypothermia, frostbite and death.

The house also needs to be kept at a certain level of warmth or pipes will freeze, plumbing systems will backfire and structural damage can occur. Having the appropriate heaters are about survival — for the wellbeing of humans and buildings.

Different ways to heat a house

Seal up all windows and any cracks that are in your home to help keep the cold air out. Many people put plastic on their windows and doors for added protection from the cold weather.

Is your roof in good condition? Leaks, damage to the roofing materials or even loose gutters can significantly damage your home’s integrity. A small leak can lead to significant mold growth.

If you have pipes that are exposed outside or pipes that are in crawlspaces, basements and other areas that are exposed to the winter cold, make sure that they’re properly insulated. 

 Open the doors to your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow air to circulate, and turn the faucet on to let the water drip. This will help protect your pipes from freezing and bursting.

Also, you can turn the oven on and do some baking while you wait for the repair. This will help keep you (and your kitchen) warm. Refrain from using the oven as a heater, as doing so is generally unsafe.

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