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How to prepare yourself, your home and car for the cold temperatures

We are Standing for Houston and giving you 5 tips on how to protect yourself, your home and your car from the freezing temperatures headed our way.

HOUSTON- As Texas deals with it's first round of winter weather this November we're Standing With Houston and giving you the top five ways to protect your health, your home and your car from the first cold snap!

YOUR HOME:

Joe Bany with John Moore Services reminds us that we may notice that 'burning' smell the first time we crank on our heater or furnace. Experts recommend you turn on the appliance early in the winter season, that way if you have a problem you can get it maintenanced early in the season.

Any time the temperature drops it's best to bring in your pets.

Towels and sheets work best for protecting non-native or exotic plants. Landscapers also recommend you use stakes to secure the material to the ground. Stakes can also keep the material from sitting on the on plant. And, before a freeze, experts say it's best to water the plants. That layer of water will freeze on the ground, insulting the roots. ou can also wrap holiday lights around the base of the plant and turn them on overnight. The heat from the lights also protects the plants.

Buy pipe insulation now! Houston area hardware stores were either sold out or carried a limited supply back in December 2017 when the material was in hot demand.

And, if you use a space heater, firefighters want you to remember to keep it at least three feet from curtains, furniture or your bed.

HEALTH:

Isabel Valdez, a nurse practitioner with the Baylor College of Medicine says now's the time to get your flu shot.

During the holidays more people tend to get the flu or catch a cold, not because of the temperature change, but because more people are out and about, with family or at holiday parties.

While colds are linked to the winter weather, Valdez says body aches are! There is a connection.

When it comes to winter fashion: hats, scarves and gloves (in that order) will keep you the warmest.

And Valdez reminds people, if the cold dreary weather has you feeling gloomy- be sure to exercise and eat well. Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. is a legitimate health concern.

VEHICLE:

The guys at Firestone Tires off Washington Avenue in Houston remind you during the cold weather months, it's best to allow your vehicle to warm up for 10-15 minutes each morning-- without the heater on. It allows the vehicle to circulate the oil and protect the engine.

Once you have warmed up your car, turn on the heater! You'll notice your vehicle gets warmer faster when it's warmed up - rather than trying to do both at once.

Auto experts also say monitor your tire pressure. The oxygen molecules expand and contract in hot and cold weather. Many drivers notice low tire pressure during the first days of a cold snap.

Mechanics also say car batteries are likely to drain faster during the cold weather months.

And, winterizing your vehicle is a thing! Most Houston-area automotive shops can inspect your vehicle for added wear and tear due to weather for about $10 to $20.