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Stay inside, if possible, during bitter cold temps
Written by Tammy Walro   
Monday, 19 January 2009 10:40

Baby it’s cold outside.

With the arctic air that came last week, and more likely to come throughout the rest of the winter, it’s important for people of all ages to know how to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening health problems including frostbite, hypothermia and heart strain, Dr. David Grossman, Lucas County Health Commissioner said.

Extremely cold temperatures and exposed skin can easily result in frostbite, Dr. Grossman cautioned. Frostbite can permanently damage exposed areas of the body, especially the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Indications of frostbite include gray-yellow skin, skin that feels firm or waxy and numbness. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

Prolonged exposure to extreme cold may also lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body begins to lost heat faster than it can be produced. Some warning signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling of hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. In infants, signs include bright lips and cheeks and very low energy. Any signs of hypothermia should prompt immediate monitoring of body temperature.

Cold weather also can place extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold, Dr. Grossman said.

A basic tip for being safe during extreme cold weather is to go outside only if necessary. If you must go out, dress in appropriate layers, making sure there is no skin exposed.

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By: Tammy Walro

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