Serious medical conditions can arise due to extreme cold weather.
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 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.
At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning.
Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:
a white or grayish-yellow skin area
skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.
What to Do: If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. Because frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure, first determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia, as described previously. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.html
When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature
Victims of hypothermia are often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Warnings signs of hypothermia…
shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss,
slurred speech and drowsiness
bright red, cold skin, very low energy
What to Do: 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.
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