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CHICAGO — The Chicago area is bracing for the coldest temperatures in decades. Wednesday the temperature without the windchill is expected to dip to as low as -22. Here are some tips to keep yourself, your home and your family:

For your home:

Lou Manfredini recommends the following for your home.
  1. Any faucet inside but attached to an exterior wall should have a trickle of water running through it – both on the hot and cold sides, if it has separate knobs.
  2. Lock windows. Locking will help cut down on drafts. Invest in a window insulation kit as well.
  3. Check and change your furnace filter. If it’s clogged and you don’t have a spare, you can run your furnace without a filter for a few days.
  4. Leave cabinet doors open in areas where it is cold. Allow heat to enter and keep pipes warm.

For your car:

Manfredini recommends the following tips for your car.
  1. Ahead of the cold, coat the weather stripping of your car doors with mineral oil. This will help ensure you are able to open the door in freezing temps.
  2. Lock de-icer can help thaw frozen car locks.

For yourself & children:

Doctors say take precaution and cover up your face, ears, hands and body.  Any exposed skin is susceptible to frostbite. Dr. Matthew Kippenhan of Northwestern Immediate Care Centers says with the type of cold expected this week, it would only take minutes before mild frostbite appears. A mild case is when the skin turns white and becomes numb and waxy.  The damage is reversible.  When skin turns black and blue it can lead to tissue damage and even amputation. Dr. Kippenhan advises children especially need coverage because they are smaller and frostbite and hypothermia can happen faster with them. Even pets need to be protected in the extreme cold.