Cold Weather Safety Tips to Protect Your Health

BINGHAMTON, NY - As the wind chill increases and temperatures fall to below zero in the Southern Tier and surrounding regions, the Broome County Health Department is urging residents to take precautions against the cold.

 If you must venture outside, take precautions to keep dry and warm to protect your health. Adults and children should wear:
 
·      a hat
·      a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
·      sleeves that are snug at the wrist
·      mittens
·      water-resistant coat and shoes
·      several layers of loose-fitting clothing to trap body heat
 
The outer layer of clothing should be tightly woven, preferably, wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind.    Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton.
 
Dressing appropriately for cold weather can help decrease your risk of getting hypothermia or frostbite, two cold weather concerns.
 
Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that causes the body’s core temperature to drop below normal. The signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, weak pulse, slow heart rate, very shallow breathing, exhaustion and drowsiness. Infants may appear to have very low energy and cold, bright red skin.
 
Severe cases of frostbite can lead to gangrene and amputation. The first signs of frostbite are skin that turns white or a grayish yellow in color, numbness, and tingling.
 
Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about performing hard work in the cold. Remember, your body is already working hard to just stay warm. 
 
For other cold weather advice visit the Centers for Disease Control website at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/about.asp
01/03/2014 - 2:29pm