With extremely cold temperatures ahead, residents are reminded to take extra precautions to avoid frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite occurs when the skin is damaged from exposure to severe temperatures and can cause serious complications, the worst being amputation. Injuries from frostbite are extremely common, yet easily preventable.
Frostbite mostly affects areas where the circulation is poor. Since cold weather will cause the body to take preventive measures by constricting the blood vessel, this opens the door to frostbite injuries.
Look for the 4 P's of frostbite:
Should frostbite set in:
Hypothermia can happen in a poorly heated house in the winter. It might take several hours or several days to develop. It can be a very dangerous condition for older adults.
As body temperature falls, all of the body's organs are affected. The risk is higher if a person is malnourished or has heart disease, liver problems and endocrine disorders.
Hypothermia can also occur by being outdoors too long or without proper clothing in extremely cold weather.
Getting very wet can also lead to hypothermia, whether by falling in water or getting covered with freezing rain.
Mild hypothermia symptoms:
Moderate hypothermia symptoms:
Severe hypothermia symptoms:
If you notice any of these signs, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:
A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.
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