Dangerous Cold Brings Safety Reminders

Dangerous cold and wind chills that have been forecast for the metro area this week and will bring life threatening conditions to the area. The Douglas County Health Department is urging everyone to plan ahead and avoid traveling or being outdoors if possible.

“The conditions that have been forecast can lead to death or life-altering injury,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “With below-zero temperatures in the forecast and double-digit below zero winds chills, I ask you to do more than the usual to protect yourself.”

She says as always everyone should limit outdoor time and dress in layered clothing, preferably loose-fitting clothing. It is essential to cover the ears, face, and hands. Wear a hat and use thermal socks or two pairs of socks – with waterproof boots –  to protect your feet.

Frostbite is a real danger. Dr. Pour says to protect yourself act quickly if:

·         You see any signs of redness or experience pain in any skin area.

·         You see white or grayish-yellow skin area with an unusual feel.

·         Pay attention if someone points out those conditions.

If you suspect frostbite, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes if at all possible, use body heat to warm fingers and hands, warm but not hot water, and do not rub injured areas with snow or massage them at all. That will cause more damage.

Hypothermia may result from exposure so seek medical attention if:

·         You or someone you see experiences shivering, exhaustion, confusion, or fumbling hands.

·         Slurred speech and drowsiness are other symptoms, and babies may have bright red skin.

The elderly and infants are the greatest danger of suffering serious injury from the cold so please check on them. Avoid portable heating devices that are powered by combustible fuel. If you must travel tell friends your planned route and keep a cell phone close and keep it charged.

“These suggestions can keep you alive,” Dr. Pour says. “It takes only a few minutes for cold like this to cause a case of frostbite.”

Wind chills Wednesday morning could exceed -30.

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