Tips for Extreme Cold Weather

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): Health officials are urging residents to stay inside during this bitter cold. But, if you do go out, bundle up in layers and be sure to cover any exposed skin. Staying out even for five minutes could be dangerous. At the first signs of redness or pain, get out of the cold.

Seek care from a health care professional immediately if you detect symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite, resulting in heat loss. The very young and the very old are especially at risk. Make plans to check in your elderly neighbors.

The Indiana State Department of Health offers the following tips and warning signs:

For individuals who must go outdoors, Health officials recommend wearing the following items:
• A hat or hood (as most heat is lost through the head)
• A scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
• Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
• Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
• Water-resistant coat and boots
• Several layers of loose-fitting clothing

These are the warning signs of hypothermia for adults:
• Shivering, exhaustion
• Confusion, fumbling hands
• Memory loss, slurred speech
• Drowsiness

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and in severe cases, can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

Warning signs of frostbite include:
• White or grayish-yellow skin
• Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
• Numbness