Protect Yourself Against the Cold

The cold weather has arrived and it's here to stay for the time being. Many people don't think that cold weather can be dangerous. When thinking of danger in the winter, most people think of accidents due to snow and ice. However, cold weather can be very dangerous if the proper precautions aren't followed. So how do you protect yourself and your loved ones against the cold? I'll tell you how.

The two major cold weather health hazards are hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia claimed the lives of about 700 Americans last year. It occurs when the body temperature falls below 95.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Some symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, cold and pale skin, numbness, fatigue, poor circulation, disorientation, slurred speech, and bluish or puffy skin. If someone you know is suffering from hypothermia, seek medical attention immediately. You will want to get the victim to a warm place and remove any wet clothing. Try to warm the center of the body (chest, neck, head). You can also give the victim warm non-alcoholic beverages.

Frostbite is another major cold weather health hazard. It occurs when skin temperature drops below 32.1 degrees Fahrenheit and the body tissue freezes. Frostbite is most common on toes, fingers, ears, checks, and the tip of the nose. Some symptoms of frostbite include gradual numbness, hardness and paleness of the affected area, pain or tingling or burning of the affected area after warming, and possible change in skin color to purple. If someone you know is suffering from frostbite, do NOT massage or rub the frostbitten areas. It could cause more damage to the skin. To prevent frostbite, cover your head, wear several layers of lightweight and loose fitting clothing, wear waterproof shoes, and wear mittens instead of gloves.

Stay warm and stay safe during this cold weather outbreak!

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