Winter Weather – The Dangers of Playing in Winter Wonderland
We’ve been hearing for days now that our weather is going to turn bitterly cold. While this deep freeze won’t last long this time, we want you to be aware of dangers that extreme cold temperatures can bring as winter is just getting started.
Exposure to cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. How quickly it can happen depends on how cold it actually is, one’s existing health and the length of time exposed to drastically low temperatures. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible.
Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20° Fahrenheit (F) will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. It can kill. For those who survive, there are likely to be lasting kidney, liver and pancreas problems. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. Take the person’s temperature. If below 95°F, seek medical care immediately!
If medical care is not available, warm the person slowly, starting with the body core. Warming the arms and legs first drives cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure. If necessary, use your body heat to help. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Warm broth is the first food to offer. Piedmont Urgent Care is open every day from 8AM – 8PM to assist with non-emergency care. If you feel a person is suffering from frost bite or hypothermia, we recommend going to the emergency room.