Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter Weather Awareness Week - part 2

...Winter weather awareness in the Mid-South...

Todays topic is frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite causes numbness and white or blue-tinted skin and occurs most commonly in the fingers...toes...ears...and nose.

Hypothermia...an abnormally low body core temperature...is caused by prolonged exposure to cold. Hypothermia can occur indoors as well as outside. Body functions slow to a dangerously low level. Symptoms include slurred speech...incoherence...drowsiness...poor coordination...a slow heart beat...uncontrollable shivering or no shivering at all.

To avoid hypothermia...keep your clothes dry. Wet clothing loses all insulating value and should be changed as quickly as possible.

Mittens and a warm hat are necessities. The body loses about 50 percent of its heat through the head...so whether you are outdoors or inside an unheated home...day or night...a hat will go a long way in helping you stay warm.

Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases...heat is carried away from the body...driving down the body temperature. Remember that animals are affected by wind chill as well.

Avoid overexertion...such as shoveling heavy snow or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor may cause a heart attack. Wear loose...light-weight...warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air is an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be water repellent and hooded. Always cover your head...as you can lose half of your body heat through an uncovered head. Be prepared for the storm by listening to NOAA Weather Radio...commercial radio or television for the latest winter storm advisories.

No comments: