When the weather has been brutally cold with high winds, it’s not unusual to see wind chills down to -25 degrees. What can you do to protect your health and safety?
Remember a few of these simple tips:
• If you have to go outside, make your trip as brief as possible.
• Wear a hat, scarf, gloves or mask. Remember that mittens are warmer than gloves.
• Wear water resistant boots and jackets.
• Dress in layers of loose fitting clothing.
• Stay dry and don’t overexert. The cold temperatures add extra strain on your heart.
• If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, refrain from heading out to shovel snow.
• Don’t ignore your body shivering. It’s the first sign that your body is losing heat. Severe shivering is your signal to get indoors immediately.
• Keep pets indoors except to let them out to do their business.
If you’ve been exposed to severe cold temperatures, recognize signs and symptoms of hypothermia:
• Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness are all common in adults.
• With children, look for bright red, cold skin and very low energy level in addition to the signs in adults.
• If you notice any of these signs, take a person’s temperature if possible. If it’s below 95degrees, the situation is critical – get emergency help immediately!
• If emergency help is not available, get a victim into a warm location or shelter.
• Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first (chest, head, neck and groin) using blankets or layers of dry clothing, sheets or towels.
• Warm beverages can help as long as they do not contain alcohol. Never attempt to give an unconscious person a beverage of any type.
• Once the person’s temperature has increased, seek medical attention as soon as you can.
One last cool tip: taking preventive measures long before you need them is you best defense against having to deal with an extreme cold emergency. Prepare your home and you car well in advance for any emergency and you can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.
Tips above provided the Farmington Hills Fire Department.