Bitter-cold temperatures are heading our way, following a snowy start to the week. With dangerously-cold wind chill values, we encourage you to stay safe indoors. However, if you or your family must venture outdoors during the cold weather, here are some safety tips you may want to consider before heading out.
Watch for Frostbite
With wind chills potentially dropping to 35 to 50 degrees below zero, depending on your location, be sure to watch for frostbite. Frostbite can happen in just a few minutes and is especially susceptible on your fingers, toes, nose and ears.
Indicators of frostbite:
- First degree: Ice crystals forming on your skin.
- Second degree: Skin begins to feel warm even though it is not yet defrosted.
- Third degree: Skin turns red, pale or white.
- Fourth degree: Pain lasts for more than a few hours and skin may turn dark blue or black.
If you think you have frostbite, move indoors to a heated location and begin to warm the affected area using warm water or body heat. Do not use hot water. For severe frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Beware of Hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 96 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a serious health condition and you should seek medical attention immediately. You have a greater chance of developing hypothermia if you are outdoors for an excessive amount of time and if you’re not dressed properly for the weather.
Tips for reducing your risk of hypothermia:
- Dress in layers
- Avoid breezes and drafts when indoors
- Wear a hat and warm boots
- Eat hot foods and drink warm drinks several times a day
If you find yourself feeling cold, sluggish or have trouble thinking clearly, see your doctor immediately or visit your local emergency room. And, if you know someone who lives alone, be sure to check on them during cold, winter days.
To learn more about staying safe and healthy during cold weather, check out this great article from the CDC.