Being Prepared for Weather Emergencies
It’s best to stay indoors as much as possible during periods of bad weather. It’s also advisable to:
Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, water repellent clothing.
Make sure the house is well insulated and not drafty.
Eat and drink properly to supply heat and avoid dehydration.
Wear a hat (most body heat is lost through the head).
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from cold air.
Avoid over exertion (such as shoveling heavy snow which could cause a heart attack).
Major threats, especially to older people, are frostbite and hypothermia.
FROSTBITE is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose, and ear lobes. Symptoms are numbness and a white or pale appearance to the skin. When symptoms are apparent, medical help should be sought.
HYPOTHERMIA, or low body temperature, is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include:
Slow or slurred speech
If these symptoms are detected, call 911 or the local police department at once. If medical attention is not immediately available, begin warming the person slowly. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck.
Hypothermia usually develops over a period of time, anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Even mildly cool indoor temperatures of 60 degrees to 65 degrees can trigger hypothermia. Therefore, it is recommended that older persons should not set their thermostats below 65 degrees during winter months.