Winter is here and the Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) encourages all residents to prepare for freezing temperatures. Temperatures throughout the state are expected to stay below normal throughout the week.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a hard freeze watch for most of Louisiana from this Wednesday night through Thursday morning. LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert urges families to "please take precaution if and when a freeze does occur and remain safe and cautious during threatening conditions."

According to LDH Medical Director and State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry, it is important to be especially attentive to the needs of young children, the elderly and others who may require special assistance during a freeze.

"It can be difficult to convince children to wear multiple layers of clothing, but it's important for their safety," Guidry said.

Guidry also recommends checking in with loved ones or neighbors who may not otherwise have access to heat.

Residents should take the following precautions during a freeze:

  • Dress appropriately in warm clothes if you must leave your home.
  • Never leave children or others who may need care in a vehicle.
  • Consider purchasing extra food, water and other supplies you may need in a power outage.
  • Avoid using a stove or oven as a heat source and avoid activities that could start a fire.
  • Insulate unprotected outdoor pipes.
  • Move pets inside.
  • Leave cabinet doors under sinks open to expose pipes to household heat.
  • Open a faucet to allow water to drip throughout the night.
  • Move sensitive plants inside.
  • Avoid driving in icy conditions.
  • Have plenty of supplies.
  • Know shelter locations (in the event of a power outage).
  • Never use generators inside your home, enclosed areas, or wet conditions.
  • Check on the elderly.

LDH Office of Aging and Adult Services (OAAS) Interim Assistant Secretary Tara Leblanc suggests that in times of inclement weather residents "reach out to your elderly neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Although we often think the aging population has caregivers to rely on, they may not always be available. See if your neighbor needs assistance in preparing their house or ensuring they have the necessary supplies to endure this extreme weather."

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit