There are several weather related conditions and illnesses that are more prevalent in winter months. Here is some information to keep your family safe and reduce your risk of illness this winter.
Extreme cold can cause hypothermia, which is an extreme lowering of the body’s temperature. Your body loses heat faster than it can produce. An abnormally low body temperature can make you unable to think clearly or move well. Hypothermia can be very dangerous because you may not know what is happening.
Those at the highest risk include elderly people without adequate food, clothing or heating; babies and children sleeping in cold bedrooms; children who are left unattended; adults who are under the influence of alcohol; mentally ill individuals; people who remain outdoors for long periods of time including the homeless, hikers and hunters.
You can prevent hypothermia by dressing properly. This includes wearing layers of dry clothing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, water cooler than 75°F removes body heat more rapidly than it can be replaced. It is important to avoid water, however if you can’t wear high rubber boots in water and ensure clothing has adequate insulation. These recommendation also will help prevent frostbite.
Everyone should have adequate food, clothing, shelter and proper sources of heat. Carbon Monoxide is also another winter health concern; therefore it is important to not use dangerous heating equipment.
Symptoms you might experience with hypothermia can include: confusion, sleepiness, lethargic movements, and stiffness in your arms and legs.
If you think someone is suffering from hypothermia you should take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°F, the situation is an emergency and you should get medical attention immediately.
Additionally, you should get the victim to a warm shelter or room and remove any wet or damp clothing. Next, warm the center of the body with electric blankets or skin-to skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets.