A 25-year-old woman died of hypothermia in Kentucky this week.
HSHS Illinois Hospitals are urging Illinois’ residents to know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia – especially with sub-zero temperatures hitting the region.
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. This usually happens when a person is exposed to cold for long periods of time.
According to the CDC, you should get the person into a warm room or shelter if you feel they have hypothermia. You should also remove any wet clothing. You can even provide the victim warm, nonalcoholic beverages to increase body temperature and keep them dry and wrapped in a warm blanket when their temperature increases. Once the situation is handled, seek medical attention ASAP.
Frostbite can result in frozen skin tissue that often results in amputation of the impacted area. Symptoms include areas of white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness.
CDC recommends folks who have signs of frostbite, but not hypothermia, to get into a warm room as soon as possible and immerse the area in warm – not hot – water. The temperature of water should be comfortable to the touch. Warming or heating pads, heat lamps or the heat of stoves, fireplaces or radiators can burn victims because impacted areas are numb.
Dr. Marc McCleary says preparation is your best defense against cold-weather injuries. If you can – just stay home.
More information when you contact your primary care physician.